Launching our 1 Million Families – anti-bullying campaign by Jeremy Todd, Chief Executive at Family Lives
I was bullied when I was at school and it was a horrible experience. The events which surrounded my bullying were outside of my control, and it made the whole experience feel relentless and unending, as I knew I couldn’t change many of the factors on which people chose to focus.
When I was 11 my dad became unwell and he was diagnosed with an illness that was never defined until he died 10 years later. My response to this experience was no different from that of anyone else, I was confused and upset by the uncertainty this home situation brought.
It wasn’t obvious to me that I was withdrawing from a broader range of social activity and sport, due to this situation; I simply didn’t know what I was feeling. Bullying focuses on another person’s weakness and circumstance. Be it a difference in appearance, culture, background or emotional vulnerability.
My personal circumstances led to comments and name calling...
I knew that when I retired I would like to spend some of my extra time helping others in a voluntary capacity. I went on to the 'Just Do It' website and had a good look around what was available. I had quite a specific shopping list: I wanted to learn new skills and I wanted to have room to develop those skills within the organisation. However, although I wanted to commit to the work I also wanted the freedom to drop everything at short notice if I was needed by my grandchildren.
I saw the advert for a Call Taker at Family Lives and came along for an interview. The set up at Family Lives met all my needs and I felt I would be making good use of my experience as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, mother in law and now, happily, Granny.
The training was fascinating and well organised. When I was ready to take my first real call I was well supported by my Call Supervisor. I...
I wanted to become a volunteer to help people less fortunate than myself. I have had a troubled and emotional family life myself over the years and have a very good support network of family and friends so consider myself very lucky but others are not so fortunate and can feel totally alone.
Family Lives reach out to all members of the community and I feel privileged to be part of a very caring and professional organisation that allows me the opportunity to offer help and emotional support to people who need it the most.
I volunteer on live chat because I wanted to reach out to those people that need help but might find it too emotional or difficult to use the helpline and therefore might find it a little easier.
Working as part of a team that also supports me is very important and I know my time spent volunteering is time well spent. I am happy to now be in a good place in my life and being a part of...
The reason I choose to volunteer was because I had the time and energy to be able to give to something that I could choose to do. I chose Family Lives because when I visited the office and spoke to the workers there i realised what a valuable job they do for people by being able to listen to whatever's troubling them. As a volunteer I am treated as any other worker and am well supported too. The office is a very friendly place to be with like-minded people, all wanting to give to others and help them through difficult stages in their lives.
I joined Family Lives because I believe families form the infrastructure of society, and that there are many challenging and complicated issues to be dealt with by both children and adults. It is important to support people who want to make the right decisions and choices in order to resolve difficulties, and to make their families and lives as effective as possible.
I have discovered for myself that taking a call 'for real' is much easier than the thought, and indeed the role- play! People are generally trying to 'get it right' and are genuinely grateful for the opportunity to talk and I don't have to solve anything.
I hold the view that in life most people want to do the right thing and do their best, and this view is reflected in my experiences so far. I feel a sense of satisfaction as a result of being at the other end of the 'phone for people who need to work things through, reflect or simply 'unload', and if I can...
Having reached a certain point in my personal life - being married and with time to give - I wanted to share something of myself which might bring benefit to someone else. I waited to be able to attend the skills training workshops - well worth waiting for. Training was interesting and challenging and equipped me with enough to feel confident to be 'let loose' on the phone lines! For me, being part of a supportive team which puts value on providing a listening ear to people in their time of real need, cannot be overestimated. It's the simple things which matter most.
(Names have been changed)
With summer holidays just around the corner, you might be thinking about how you’re going to keep the children entertained for all those weeks. School holidays are very exciting for the children, but for parents it often means complicated childcare arrangements and finding things to relieve their boredom. All these things can add increased pressure on your finances too which may be stretched already. We have great tips on surviving the school holidays and some ideas for what to do when it’s raining as well.
This may be your first holiday as a single parent, and disagreements about where the children will spend time can flair up, underlying the fact that family life has changed and this is a painful process for children and adults. A quarter of British families are now...
In December 2006, 11 year old Ben Vodden took his own life after being bullied on the dedicated school bus. His father, Paul, has been trying to find out about bullying on school buses but there is very little published information. With this in mind he has joined with the Diana Awards to produce a questionnaire for those who have experienced bullying on the way to school on the bus.
The information will be used to find out how much bullying occurs on dedicated school buses and, if there is a lot of it, to use the information to lobby for better care for children on such buses.
As a result of Ben's death we were told of a number of instances where bullying took place on dedicated school buses and we discovered that there...
Do you have an older single mum or dad? If so head to myLovelyParent and help them meet someone new.
We’ve partnered with newly launched website myLovelyParent, to make sure single older parents have the support they need when meeting new people online.
The inspiration came when the founder’s mum, a single lady in her 60s suggested he helped “find her knight in shining armour”. myLovelyParent was born, a safe and easy to use website where adult children encourage their single parents online whether for companionship or to meet someone new. Thousands of people have signed to the site, which went live in October.
We have teamed up with myLovelyParent to provide its users with the emotional family related support they may need during their online journey. Through our free, confidential helpline services we often hear from single parents who are struggling with the reality of isolation and loneliness, whether as a result of divorce, separation or bereavement...
It is said that ‘time flies when you are enjoying yourself’ and it’s true. It is hard to believe that 20 years have passed since Alma answered an advertisement in the local paper asking for volunteers for Parent Line and Kathy was coerced into doing the training by Moyra Bowman, who was then chairperson of Parent Line in the North East.
Exceptional volunteers, they have clearly shared and shaped the organisation’s drive to reach every family who need our help through their generosity of time, energy, skills and experience. For 20 years they have listened to families who are struggling and who may have nowhere else to turn. It is absolutely clear that without them and their colleagues, the lives of those families would not have been changed for the better.
Their 20 years’ service will have touched the lives of countless Mums, Dads, Children, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents and many more. They will have known Alma and Kathy as the calming...