There before a crisis


The BBC reported today that “thousands of vulnerable children in England are being ‘left in limbo’ because their needs are not severe enough.”

The charity, Action for Children, has warned that potentially hundreds of thousands of children are falling through the cracks because they are not at crisis point.

They warn that “these children have needs that are too great for school, health or other universal services to meet on their own, but they are not eligible for support from statutory social care services.”

Leaving vulnerable children and young people to hit a crisis before intervening and offering them appropriate support is, bluntly, absurd.

It’s a tragic indictment on the impact that cuts have had. Schools and support services are doing excellent work, but have limited capacity and cannot shoulder the burden left by tightening other provisions.

This is where the voluntary sector can be really valuable, but here again, it is a crowded area with everybody competing for the same funding.

At Doorsteps, our aim is not to intervene when there is a child or a young person in a crisis, but to prevent them falling off the precipice in the first place. And if we can get a child’s family life right, then our hope is they will become less vulnerable.

H2O, our new family befriending scheme, is about coming alongside families who could do with a listening ear, some company, and a morale-boost to release their potential.

Viva volunteer Georgina Chetwynd who was instrumental in the creation of H2O comments, “Many of us find it difficult to first recognise and then reach out for help when we do go through struggles – and how much more so when we are afraid of being judged.

“We have recruited and trained volunteers who are clear that volunteering is a two-way process – they are not there to solve a family’s problems but to listen, befriend, to build on a family’s strengths, and also to learn themselves.”

It is our hope that H2O will help families who could hit crisis point, avoid it.

With support, guidance, and most importantly, friendship, families can not find themselves in a situation where other services need to be called upon. This model of intervening earlier, of prevention, is to do with human dignity.

The circumstances that can lead to crises can wear down a person’s self-worth and their dignity.

Doorsteps and H2O seek to affirm the innate dignity and value of each person. By coming alongside as friends and as supporters, we will speak truth to that claim of human worth.

If you would like to hear more about H2O or any of our work here at Doorsteps, please read more or get in touch with me at