Over the past three years Jason Edwards, SPAN's Father Worker, has been helping dads as part of the Fathers Project (funded by The Henry Smith Charity)
. The entire project was evaluated recently. Read the report here.
What some of the fathers have said
“This project is really a life saver for people like me.”
“This is a great service. It honestly saved my life.”
“Jason has helped me a lot and put me on the right track. He really knows how to listen and help me. Best voluntary organisation I have come across.”
Watch Jason on YouTube
The team at SPAN are very sad to announce the death of our finance manager. Cathy Stanbrook, who started work at SPAN in the early 1990s and has been vital to our work ever since, died suddenly in October aged 64.
Cathy, a single parent herself, was famous for managing our finances “to the penny”, sticking with SPAN through thick and thin and taking no nonsense from anyone, be they bank managers, colleagues, trustees or funders.
Colleagues and friends remember her strong support through difficult times, her wild parties and her feisty character. She leaves behind a daughter, but she was considered to be “a mother to many”.
Would you believe this is a salad?! And not at some fancy five star hotel, but at Feed Bristol, a community growing project in the Stapleton area of the city.
Staff and clients of SPAN's Strengthening Families service took advantage of the sun to see how healthy, attractive, home-made food can be available to everyone.
Bristol arts group Creative Drop took over our cafe for a day and transformed it with painting and crafts! Read more here. The Cafe at Silai will be run by new chef Mark this year and we plan to open 5 days a week, from 9am. If you have ideas of what you'd like to see in our cafe, fill out our questionnaire.
SPAN Director Tove Samzelius has taken up a new post in her native Sweden, working for Save the Children.
During her time at SPAN, Tove filled a number of posts including a spell as interim CEO in 2013 when SPAN's founder Sue Cohen left the organisation. Tove showed much dedication to her colleagues, the organisation and all our service users, and Save The Children gains such a passionate person. We all wish her and her family great things for the future.
Good Luck Tove xx
This week is National Work Life Balance Week. To show our committment to a healthy and flexible balance between work and home life, the staff at SPAN UK pledged to leave work on time today. In recognition of our efforts, the Go Home On Time day organisers awarded us a prize!
Annie Oliver, SPAN’s Parent Support Manager, recently spoke on Radio Bristol about how parenting continues long after children leave home. With the recession hitting hard, parents sometimes feel guilty that they’re unable to help their adult children financially. She said, “I don’t think the guilt’s helpful... sometimes just being there to talk or to have a hug; that can alleviate the stress.”
She gave examples of parents and grandparents giving their time and sharing their skills with DIY, gardening, childcare etc. “Children, whatever their age, just need to know that their parents are there for them.”
You can listen to the interview here: (available til 13th Aug): https://www.wetransfer.com/downloads/12e6a9fbe2aa41c70e079ecf0632696f20140806110857/aed7560284e14ddd84ad82db1fbec89c20140806110857/916469
SPAN, together with a number of other high profile charities, had a letter to the editor published in The Times on 24 July 2014. Together we raise our concerns about the impact of benefit sanctions on families and the fairness of decisions being made.
The letter reads:
Sir. We are pleased the government has accepted the recommendations in the Independent review of jobseeker’s allowance sanctions. However, now we must tackle the rapid increase in people being sanctioned; the impact of sanctions on claimants and their families; their effectiveness in getting people to work; and the fairness and consistency of their application.
It is clear that the sanctions regime does not work; not for the government, not for the labour market, and not for claimants. The system is unfair and, in many cases, counterproductive.
The review’s remit was to limited. The government had indicated that a broader review would be ordered, and we urge Ian Duncan Smith to act.
Geraldine Blake, Community Links
Alison Garnham, CPAG
Denise Hatton, YMCA England
Rick Henderson, Homeless Link
Joanna Kennedy, Zachareus 2000 Trust
Leslie Morphy, Crisis
Robert Pitts, SPAN
Helen Robinson, The Salvation Army
Howard Sinclair, St Mungo’s Broadway
Fiona Weir, Gingerbread
SPAN is looking for new trustees with experience in the following areas:
Business skills (and connections)
If you have the skills and the passion to really make a difference then we would love to hear from you. Your commitment will be to attend trustee board meetings usually held in Bristol (where child care can be provided) on a Saturday.
Meetings are held four times a year and generally last for a maximum of five hours.
SPAN has ambitious plans for the future and would love you to be a part of it.
To find out more, please contact: