Morpeth Lions Club
FOR some 20 years Morpeth Lions Club has been supporting the work of the county council’s Children’s Support Team.
It started with a simple request for a Christmas tree and a doll for a family who could not afford them. Since then the Lions involvement has increased not only at Christmas, but all year round.
In spite of this, many Lions were unaware of the extent of the Children’s Support Team’s work so Anne Prior, our main contact with the team, was invited to give a talk.
Anne began by thanking the club for its support and in particular those Lions with whom she mostly works.
She stressed this is much appreciated by families.
Anne explained that the main purpose is wherever possible to keep children out of the care system so that families are kept together.
This is not always possible and the team also gives support to foster carers.
It receives referrals from doctors and hospitals, as well as information from schools. The normal hours are from 8am to 10pm daily, but can be longer. The most frequent time for contact is late evening around 9.30pm.
With so much poverty, the exploitation of children, drug abuse and changes to benefits, the team is kept busy.
As part of Children’s Services, it adheres to procedures around Children in Need and the Child Protection Framework.
Anne said team members never get hardened to what is happening, but they all support one another.
She gave examples of cases without naming families or where they lived.
Anne ended with positive stories and successes of this work. She pointed out that it is extremely cost effective as it costs far more when children are taken into care.
On a final note, the young girl who requested a doll some 20 years ago is now a mother herself and supports the team.