Compassion is fuelled by understanding and accepting that we’re all made of strength and struggle – no one is immune to pain or suffering. Compassion is not a practice of ‘better than’ or ‘I can fix you’ – its a practice based in the beauty and pain of shared humanity.
The whole ethos and values of Faith in Families is about promoting, instilling and demonstrating our values of CARE, Compassion, Aspiration, Respect, Empathy.
We are very careful in which way we share the stories of the individuals that we come alongside. However there are days that we have to really speak out about the crisis that some are facing and the trap of hopelessness that they are in across our city: City & County of Swansea #HumanRightsCity.
Two weeks ago I shared Millie’s story. A young single woman about to give birth, who is on her own and in despair.
Millie has her own house but can’t afford to live there. Government Funding allowed her to purchase items of furniture for the home but would not allow her to use it for flooring, which is essential for keeping the home warm in winter. Due to being under 25, she is only entitled to £265.31 UC a month, £61.22 pw. She had an advance when she first had the property to get some of the small items for the kitchen. After her monthly repayment is deducted from her benefits, she is left with £53 a week to live on. This means that she can’t afford the costs of running a home. Gas, electricity, and water rates alone would cost more than her income. Leaving her with nothing for food, or the bus fare to get her to her hospital appointments.
Millie is already reliant on Foodbank parcels; cost of living has increased greatly, and she isn’t able to manage to feed herself for a full week. Some of her small income has been used to purchase clothes for her baby. We have reached out to several charities that support those in need, but we had been unsuccessful in accessing the funds for carpet that she needs to allow her to move in and provide a warm and safe environment for her baby. We have acquired second hand curtains and poles but without carpet the home would still feel cold. Millie’s financial situation will improve after she has the baby, with her UC and Child Benefit, she will have £139.26 to live on a week. This would help her pay for the basics but would not stretch to purchasing carpet.
I knew that our city is full of some amazing, kind and caring individuals and I reached out to some of our friends and supporters across Swansea Bay Business Club.
That day Millie’s house was being measured for carpet from one generous person and another has given us funding to ensure that she can pay some of her bills when the baby gets home. Both wish to remain anonymous.
3 days later the house was carpeted fully, furniture being moved in, and labour started.
Millie gave birth to a healthy, safe and beautiful baby girl, they will be able to start their lives together in a home that is warm and comfortable.
Our outreach worker has delivered wonderful gifts and hampers and new baby clothes that caring people have delivered to us to pass on to Millie, who is overwhelmed with the support that strangers have offered her. All her life she has been used to hand me downs and second-hand leftovers and expected her baby would start her childhood the same way.
Whilst we have only limited the exposure that Millie’s daughter will have to the poverty related life that her and her young Mum will be living with, it is a start. It is a start in us walking alongside them during the most formative years of her life.
Generational poverty is cyclical, and we want to help Millie and her daughter break free from this, that is what we are about – sharing the understanding that just as children born into poverty are likely to continue that way, children born into prosperity also are likely to reproduce that lifestyle. Unless we find a way together, that those of us privileged use our power and passion to change the lives of those trapped in poverty.
Faith in Families vision is A city where every child can reach their full potential. Our mission is to #BuildingBrighterFutures. Rooted in our communities, we nurture growth, cultivating fairer opportunities for all, especially during childhood.
The true measure of compassion. THANK YOU to so many wonderful people for helping us change the lives of children in our city.
We wish you a wonderful Christmas period and look forward to your support in 2023.
We know that the winter is going to be cold and bleak, with Christmas over and the crisis hitting hard, our centres will be open once more on January 3rd 2023 – providing warmth, food, fun and friendship.
If you would like to support our work click here.
If you would like to find out more about our 2023 fundraising challenge then click here.