The Kinnections Project

30th January 2015

Buttle UK launch a new project to provide tailored funding for informal kinship carers and their children in Northern Ireland.

Thanks to the generous funding ofthe Big Lottery Fund's Supporting Families Programme, we will soon be launching a new project in partnership with Kinship Care NI, which will provide a tailored package of support and funding for informal kinship carers and their families across Northern Ireland.

By ‘informal’ we mean extended families that are looking after a child rather than their parents, and are not in local authority care.

The project will address the findings from our 2011-13 research on informal kinship carers in partnership with the University of Bristol–Spotlight on Kinship Care and The Poor Relations? Children and Informal Kinship Carers Speak Out.

We are very grateful to the Big Lottery Fund's Supporting Families Programme for their generous donation of £669,298, which will be used to support children across Northern Ireland, including in the North West, who are being cared for by wider family and friends. Working together with Kinship Care NI, we will provide a range of support for children and their carers including essential household items, support groups and activities.

Gerri McAndrew, Chief Executive of Buttle UK, said: “A few years ago we could see from the applications we receive for financial help that informal kinship carers were struggling with very little support.

“Through the Kinnections project we can add to Kinship Care NI’s on-the-ground support network by providing essential items that can make a big difference. A lot of kinship carers are grandparents who are struggling on a pension when they take on the responsibility of a child and suddenly have to budget even further. So if we can help with unexpected expenditures such as a new washing machine when the old one has broken down, or a bed for the child, it can make a real difference.”

Jacqueline Williamson, Chief Executive of Kinship Care NI said, "This project will keep children in their own families and communities. Children will get the opportunities to meet other children living in the same situation, it will allow kinship carers to share experiences, develop friendships, and give them a voice.”

Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund NI Director said: “We are delighted to be funding these projects through our Supporting Families programme. They will strengthen families’ ability to cope with the challenges they face. We hope they will have a really positive impact on the lives of people who need our help the most.”

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