Happiness is Being at Home… or at least it should be. 

At Circle we work with the whole family, in a holistic way, supporting them to manage emotions, build routines and renew connections with family, friends, and their community. This Family Outreach Work can take many forms as it is led by the needs of each family, here is one example of the work that we do with the families we support.

Martha and her daughter, Masie, were referred to Circle’s outreach service. Their health visitor asked us to support them as the family were fleeing a domestic abusive relationship and were now homeless as a result. Although Martha felt she and her daughter were safer away from her ex-partner, their lack of a home of their own prevented them feeling secure and settled, and so Circle has worked with her to find a new, safe and happy home.

Martha also acknowledged that she found parenting Masie difficult during this period and has used Circle’s support to improve her parenting skills by working through our ‘Parenting Under Pressure’ program. Masie was allocated a place at the local Early Years Center who’s staff and health visiting team raised concerns regarding Masie’s development with Martha and she was referred to the pediatric multiagency team. During an especially difficult time, Martha sent Masie to stay with a friend and she was then placed in temporary foster care.

As our support continued with Martha, her confidence grew and she reached out to the Change Grow Live project through her GP as well as getting help from local psychological services. Her recovery journey had begun.

Martha was also supported by Circle to improve her financial security by applying for Personal Independence Payments, with the support of Granton Information Center. She was also able to apply for funding to pay for vital items like furniture, clothing and family activities with the help of Edinburgh and Lothian Trust Fund and Communities for Kids.

As Martha continued to make progress on a number of fronts Circle continued to support Martha with her living situation. We helped her to liaise with her housing officer as she continued to bid, via the Edinburgh Index system, for a permanent home of her own. Then Covid hit. Circle have always known how important it is to have a home where families can feel relaxed, but the pandemic highlighted just how critical having our own safe space is. However, our support did not pause during the pandemic, and we spent time on virtual visits and delivered art and craft activities for Masie to do during contact sessions with her mother.

Finally, this year the family was offered a flat, however this was only the beginning of the family’s next steps to feeling safe and secure. As you can see from the photos the flat was in desperate need of some love. Moving into a new home can be an incredibly demanding, expensive and complicated challenge, even at the best of times, and Martha had genuine concerns about how she would cope with refurbishing it and making it a home for Masie.

Assisted by grants from the Scottish Welfare Fund for furnishings, a referral to Edinburgh Housing Advice Partnership for housing support as well as assistance from Fresh Start’s Hit Squad, Martha, and her Family Outreach Worker, have picked up their tool kits and spent the last few weeks, steaming, scraping, pasting, and painting.

Having their own home will mean a new start for Martha and Masie. Circle’s work with them will continue and there are other challenges ahead but this flat is now their safe space, surrounded by friendly neighbours, linked into community activities, and supports, close to friends and extended family and all their other issues will hopefully seem a little smaller and more manageable because of it.

Watch this space for an update on how the refurbishment was finished and how happy a home Martha and Masie have been able to make for themselves.

If you would like to make sure that more families are supported to escape domestic abuse and helped to make a new start then please give what you can.

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