LifeLine Projects

Case Study: Champions Support Network

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June 20, 2024

The Champions Support Network (CSN) has been supporting parents and carers with raising young people in Barking and Dagenham, Havering, and Redbridge since 2020. Thanks to continued funding from London’s Violence Reduction Unit, the CSN trains peer mentors from the community to support other parents, arranges a range of activities to help families build connection and friendship, and delivers a programme of training to help them deliver with crucial issues they may encounter.

† Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Jane is a single parent, taking care of her 15-year-old son, Ethan. Sadly, they were currently having to deal with issues on multiple fronts. Jane was hampered by significant health problems, while Ethan was struggling both at school and at home—and the family recently moving to a new area only made the problem worse.

Feeling isolated, Jane turned to her local community for support—where she found LifeLine’s Champions Support Network. Both her and Ethan began taking part in a range of weekly activities put on by the Network, including regularly attending coffee mornings with other parents, where she found a safe space to relax and share her thoughts amongst friends.

Not too long after, our volunteer Champions organised a bowling trip for parents, carers and their families. When Jane first asked Ethan to go with her, he refused as he felt that he didn’t really know anybody. But she was able to convince him to try it and they came along. During the trip, he was able to start interacting with other young people. However, what really stood out for him was the bond that he formed with one of the fathers also attending. Ethan hadn’t seen his dad for a long time, and so had no father figure in his life—Jane was extremely pleased that he had found such a positive role model.

Emboldened by this new relationship, Ethan was eager to join a group outing to Southend that was taking place. During the trip, he started talking with more young people and ended up making new friends outside of school.

These two trips marked the start of a transformation for the family. Jane said that Ethan had become happier and was much more social now that he had made that first step. This was both a great relief for her and an immense source of joy. These changes had lasting effects too, with Ethan inspired to reconnect with an old friend, who he had fallen out of contact with following the family move.

Through the Champions Support Network, Jane and Ethan have developed connections to their new community that will continue to support and inspire them. Ethan now regularly takes part in boxing sessions arranged by our SW!TCH team and has just finished taking his exams. Jane is so much happier now and is more confident in sharing her feelings with others while continuing to connect with others at our regular activities.

Theo, Youth Development Worker

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Jane’s story highlights exactly why the work of the Champions Support Network is essential. We know that raising a young person can be challenging—particularly now more than ever—but many families remain isolated from their community, unsure of where to turn for help.

By bringing families together and giving them the means to support each other, we’re building the foundation for a network that can continue to help even more parents in these boroughs for many more years to come.

Tilishia Green
Head of Family Services

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