‘A Lifeline To Our Families’: Kinship Carers Project Report

Kinship care occurs when a child or young person lives full-time with a relative or family friend as a result of not being able to live with their birth parents, which is the case for thousands of people. Kinship carers are important members of the community: many grandparents, relatives and family friends are dedicated to bringing up others’ children who may otherwise be in local authority care, providing them with a safe home and keeping the family together.

Kinship care is essential, as it provides children in this circumstance with a sense of continuity and stability. Indeed, by allowing children to stay in a familiar environment and maintain their cultural and familial connections, their emotional and psychological well-being remains supported. As such, kinship carers provide not only a home, but also the continuation of family traditions and support – all of which are essential for a child’s development.

Kinship Carers Liverpool – based at Ellergreen Children’s Centre in Norris Green – was initially established as a registered charity in 1996 and naturally developed into a Kinship Project after identifying that many families they worked with were in the process of taking on full-time care of their grandchildren. The project has since seen younger kin carers attend, who have taken on this role for reasons varying from bereavement, chaotic lifestyles, substance misuse to imprisonment.

Kinship Carers Liverpool wishes to support anyone who lives within a kinship household, offering a number of different services for families from all walks of life and at different stages of their journey. This support includes:

  • Having experienced team members to speak to
  • Help and advice in regard to concerns and issues relating to caring for a kin child
  • Signposting to helpful and relevant services
  • Free activity programmes
  • Connections with other kinship families

In addition to direct support, Kinship Carers Liverpool actively engages in numerous campaigns, lobbies and research projects in order to ensure better support for kinship families. The families they work with have been key to this work, having been empowered to ensure their voices are heard and their lived experience is shared to bring about the change needed to meet their needs. Kinship Carers Liverpool are also an active member of the Kinship Care Alliance: this is a group of organisations that subscribe to a set of shared beliefs on the issue of family and friends care, and meet regularly to agree on strategies to promote their aims.

For the last six months, Feeding Liverpool has been working with Kinship Carers Liverpool to support between 30 and 40 kinship families each week by providing them with fresh fruit and vegetables.

This project began in December 2023, after the need for additional support for Kinship Carers was identified by Liverpool’s Healthy Start working group and the Good Food Taskforce; it forms part of Feeding Liverpool’s Healthy Boost Project, which seeks to improve access to good food for those who are at risk of food insecurity.

This report shares the difference Kinship Carers Liverpool’s project with Feeding Liverpool has made to the families who attend the centre – namely, with between 30 and 40 kinship families being provided with fresh fruit and vegetable bags each week – by drawing on case studies and information provided by those who benefit from this initiative and those who operate it.

You can read the Kinship Carers Report here.