Last week, I was able to visit a lovely Woodhouse building on Church Street, that since January has been the ‘forever home’ of Hetty's, a fabulous local charity who support the families and loved ones of people affected by addiction.
As part of this they support people in Kinship Care, which is when extended family take on a child - perhaps a grandparent taking on their grandchild - when their parents can't look after them.
The evidence is clear that children who grow up in a loving and stable home have the best outcomes in life and also keeping families together saves a fortune in expensive social care provision.
Since becoming both an MP and council leader I’ve been keen to boost and promote this, and foster care too, by ensuring that our carers get the help and support they need to do the job.
Over a year ago now, I met with some of the team at Hetty’s to talk about this and what more Government and the county council can do to support them.
The county council introduced a new Kinship Care support service to help families to make it work.
Mansfield and Ashfield have the highest levels of children classed as vulnerable across the whole of Nottinghamshire, so I’m really pleased to see that there’s been good progress in this area recently with more funding, training and family-like placements increasingly at the heart of the care system.
There are of course many charities across our area that do amazing work in this space and over almost 30 years Hetty’s has grown from being a group of mums offering each other peer support, to this amazing charity supporting hundreds of families across the whole county.
I’m dead proud of these guys and the vital services they deliver.
Having been dealt a bit of a blow last year in being told they were going to have to move out of their own building, they've made it a massive success for themselves.
Burnaby House, which has been empty for years and years, recently became their own amazing new premises, and for the community it’s been brilliant having this historic listed building back in use.
It's a testament to how well regarded they are locally that so many people and businesses have chipped in to renovate the place, which now looks amazing, and an absolute pleasure for county councillor Andre Camilleri and I to have been able to help in some small way with a bit of funding towards it.
They're increasingly making this a sustainable model for delivering services, as well as expanding and diversifying what they do.
A big congratulations to the Hetty's team and thank you for sharing this recent success with me on my visit!