A bit more from MKHP regarding the report and the work they have been doing.
As the homelessness sector continues to navigate through the challenges presented by the pandemic, the Milton Keynes Homelessness Partnership (MKHP) publishes its inaugural research report. It puts a spotlight on the real impact of COVID-19 across the sector and on people who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness across Milton Keynes.
For the first time, the voices of Milton Keynes’ organisations across the voluntary and statutory sector, together with business speak out, highlighting their concerns and trepidation for the future whilst at the same time harnessing an abundance of optimism on what could be achieved if lessons from the pandemic are learned and acted upon. Carried out in March and April 2021, a series of in-depth and compelling interviews across the network tested the mood of the sector. The research began to get under the skin of the historical battle in Milton Keynes around homelessness. As relevant now as at the beginning of lockdown, the research compares Milton Keynes to the national picture uncovering unique local issues but also sharing national concerns around welfare payments, eviction bans, and more people beginning to present as homeless.
Thank you to Children Head and Seen for joining us and sharing this blog. Children Heard and Seen are a charity based in Oxford who support children affected by parental imprisonment. They are a vital charity that offers much needed help, activities and community to families who are often ignored and forgotten. Please take a read and find out more about their work, impact and the experiences of the children. Children Heard and Seen work across MK so do reach out to find out more.
A bit about our ‘WHY’…
Estimates suggest 312,000 children are affected by parental imprisonment in the UK. There is no government funded support for these children and no mechanism to identify them. Children are separated from their parent, often in traumatic circumstances, and left to cope with no professional support. Older children are often left to care for younger children, unidentified and alone.
“Before accessing the support from Children Heard and Seen our family wasn’t supported by anything or anyone”
“I was really shocked. I thought before court or after court I’d get a phone call from someone. I don’t know. Maybe someone from social services, not to judge or interfere with our family life, but to be there to offer support. I was really shocked because there’s nothing. Absolutely nothing. You’re just left to deal with it.”
Children impacted by parental imprisonment struggle with their emotions. Often this presents as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, bullying or difficulty at school. Parental imprisonment also puts children at a high risk of offending themselves; 65% of boys with a parent in prison go on to offend.
“It was just horrendous really. It’s that sense of isolation and loneliness. Just isolated, alone and scared”
Children with a parent in prison also have to deal with stigma and shame. Many tell no-one outside their family, some have to face recriminations after their parent’s crime is published in the media and others have to uproot themselves completely; moving across the country and changing their names.
“Other kids would come up to him on the street and say ‘where’s your Dad?’ or ‘your Dad’s in prison, isn’t he?’ and I could just see the tears come straight up in his eyes.”
“The comments were hard to read, hundreds upon hundreds of comments on social media were rolling in, “scum!” “dumb bimbo!” “I hope they both overdose” plus many racist comments. I then looked at the article on the internet with the photo of our son attached.”
A bit about us…
Children Heard and Seen offer 1:1 trained practitioner support for children, support groups for parents and children, creative and academic initiatives to support well-being, development and to raise children’s aspirations. Based in Oxfordshire, we are the only registered charity providing this support – offering face to face sessions in Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and virtual support across the country.
Our support helps families come to terms with the impact of imprisonment, provides practical support, such as how to tell children where their parent has gone and why, mentoring and supports children through the emotional turmoil of a sudden and often lengthy parental absence, laden with shame and stigma. Our groups allow children to meet others in a similar situation, which reduces their isolation and allows them to talk about their feelings and the impact of parental imprisonment in a non-judgemental environment. The groups also give parents and carers the opportunity to meet others a to receive peer support from other parents who understand the issues they are facing.
“I can see the changes in the kids already. I think they have gotten a lot with socialising with other people.. I’m pretty sure it would have helped me personally as well; I know other parents have partners in prison and (it would have helped to know) how they deal with stuff like that.”
“After CHAS (Children Heard and Seen) Charlie* has done a full turnabout, he’s sweet and kind and lovely again. I think the mentor scheme really did support Charlie, he had built a solid relationship with Antonio. He has been brilliant for Charlie. We are so grateful for everything they have done for us.” *not child’s real name
“As soon as I spoke to you guys you were hands on straight away and helped us. I thank you for all the hard work you all have done and continue to do.”
If you are a family or work with a family impacted by parental imprisonment we can offer 1:1 support for children, peer groups, practical support for parents and the opportunity of mentorship. To self-refer email email@example.com or message us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also call us on 07557 339258
We have an exciting opportunity to work for our organisation in partnership with Milton Keynes Council (MKC) providing a high quality service as a Housing IDVA to support those who experience Domestic Abuse (DA).
Providing targeted independent domestic violence advocacy and support for people who approach The Homelessness Prevention Team for help which is as a result of DA or where DA is a contributory factor. Part of your role will also to be to increase the capacity and skills of Housing staff at MKC to identify DA, understand associated risks, and improve their responses to disclosure. Part of your work is to empower our clients, keeping the safety of them and their children central to their interventions. We are looking for an individual who is committed to working in a multi-agency setting, which is fast paced. You will be joining our caring, strong and hardworking team.
This post is a fixed term for 1 year, with the possibility of it being extended dependent on funding.
MK-ACT is an equal opportunities employer committed to quality, equality and diversity and welcomes applications from all sections of the community. This post is subject to safer recruitment procedures and regulations and an enhanced DBS check and is open to female applicants only under Schedule 9 (Part 1) of the Equality act 2010.
You will be based at MKC, Civic Offices within Milton Keynes, but you will have some meetings within MK-Act offices working in close contact with the MK-Act teams. As a Housing IDVA you will have an in-depth working knowledge of DA and experience of working with victims of DA in relation to their housing. Our ideal candidate will be specialising in working with clients for whom housing and risk of tenancy breakdown is a factor. You will be able to work on their own initiative but also seeking support from the team when required.
Closing date: Friday 8th January 2021, 5pm
For an application pack please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are delighted to introduce you to the two VCSE representatives on the SaferMK Partnership Board – Maralyn Smith and Simon Green. Read on to find out a bit more about them, where they have come from and why they want to make a difference and contribute to the communities of Milton Keynes through the SaferMK Partnership.