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Poverty costs UK £78 billion per year – JRF report

Dealing with the effects of poverty costs the UK £78 billion a year, £1,200 for every person, new research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has revealed.

A new report, Counting the cost of UK poverty by Heriot Watt and Loughborough Universities, is the first research to illustrate how much poverty across all age groups costs the public purse. It finds that £69 billion, £1 in every £5 of all spending on public services, is needed because of the impact and cost poverty has on people’s lives.


Now, the population of the UK is said to be over 65 million this year – and that’s the figures which JRF have used to work out the £1,200 per person, but remember that 16% of UK households are currently workless, so that means that the cost is spread across 54.6 million people. Of course there are more figures to take into account in reality, as far too many working households are also living in poverty, so they may be unable to pay taxes. Out of that total, according to ONS figures for 2014 ( approximately 36.5% of the population are under or over working age (15-64).

Taking away the social implications of poverty, which is actually what we should be most concerned about and to what Save the Family has committed to help provide solutions, the actual cost to the working public is something in the region of (£78 billion / 34.7 million people) £2,247 per person per year!

Surely, charities like Save the Family can be better supported by our government, central and local, to make a bigger social impact, as well as clear savings for the public purse?

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ShareShop & VolunteerRelationships are difficult! I’m afraid it’s true. Some of us seem to be good at forming them, but perhaps we are not the best at nurturing them and they fade over time; others are not good at making that first approach, but then when they begin a relationship they are dedicated to it and ensure it lasts. Wherever you fit within these “types” – and I am sure there are many more types – it doesn’t matter. The fact is that they are important.

Relationships, in my humble opinion are the key to success – success in business and success in our personal lives. We often define ourselves by how many “friends” we have (I use the quotes to reference our virtual friends on social media of course), or by how often people turn to us for advice, or perhaps how many of our clients or customers buy things from us. In my world, in Save the Family, I define myself in a slightly different way – by how many people in need the organisation I represent helps and by how many people in my personal life I can help.
It sounds a little self-righteous of me, I know but it was relationships that started my route to Save the Family and it is relationships that drive me now.

Our families, here at Save the Family often arrive with poor relationships; some will have poor relationships with family and with statutory services, but perhaps great relationships with their children. Others will have absolutely no idea how to behave in a relationship, as they have never been shown what a reciprocal relationship is. The to-ing and fro-ing of give-and-take that we strive for in a relationship cannot be taken for granted; I now know that, after over two years with the charity and with our ever-changing families.

One thing that always strikes me as amazing is when I see that transition in one of our families – from a position of utter rejection and self-protection, to at last being able to allow someone in – just enough – to start to deal with the underlying issues and learn again how to develop and maintain different types of relationship. It is worth noting that, even now I never actually expect this to happen with our families; I just hope and pray that it does and then I smile when it actually happens, knowing that the volunteers, partners and staff in this organisation have managed to help someone turn their view of relationships around, because that’s what life is all about, isn’t it – Relationships?

On a practical note, I am constantly (happily) surprised when I see relationships developing, whether it is someone offering to lend a hand or just a shoulder to cry on, to someone in need, when a few days before they thought they had to fight the world to keep their family together. Helping someone come to the understanding that with a few changes, some honest help and a good wind they can develop and maintain their own relationships with, well anybody is an amazing thing – rare, but an amazing thing. I count myself as one of the lucky ones, as I have indeed witnessed this, here with Save the Family.

Now you will have to forgive me for using myself as an example – and my wife may disagree with this – but I have been told constantly throughout my life that I am “good at relationships”. I don’t know why; perhaps it was my mother telling me for years that everyone has something to offer and it’s always worth finding out what, before you judge them – and you will judge – we all do. Or maybe it is just that I do actually like to listen a lot and then decide what to do, based on having all the facts – something that took years to develop I might add!

Either way, relationships are evident in every part of our lives – and for our families here at Save the Family they are absolutely critical to their wellbeing. If a parent cannot demonstrate a stable and reciprocal relationship with his or her child, then they cannot progress in our communities. If a parent cannot demonstrate a stable and reciprocal relationship with his or her partner or their peers, then they cannot progress in our communities. We put – rightly so – targets and guidelines in place for parents and children to achieve and we expect them to be able to achieve them, but they can only even attempt to do that IF they have the ability to develop, nurture and maintain relationships.

I vote for more support to develop this area of work, for some of the most complex families in need in our country; with this we might succeed in giving the next generation a chance. Don’t you agree??

Simon Groom
Chief Executive


Leading by example


Although I have been very much a part of the development of the charity over the last 2 years, this is my first blog as Chief Executive and as such I wanted to highlight some of the exceptional things this organisation has been able to do for our families, staff, volunteers and partners, since the last blog.

Where to start…………. I think perhaps I’ll begin by announcing that our previous Chief Executive is now the Chair of our Board. This makes me happy, as John and I have been working together tirelessly for 2 years to bring to fruition our shared vision for Save the Family and we are now able to continue that work and in the same vein. So – Welcome (again) John and I look forward to working with you in a strategic capacity, to deliver what we set out to do 12-18 months ago!

There have been many changes in the last few months and I expect there will be constant changes for some time to come, as we grow further into a professional, effective and focused charitable organisation.

We have achieved a great deal recently, starting with recruiting to key posts, many funded by external funders (and for that we are eternally grateful). We have also forged stronger relationships with our partners and begun an Enterprise and Community Engagement project (Matt may regret taking on this role!).

We have engaged with our volunteers in a much stronger and more effective way; Charlene supports us with letter writing to key contacts, proof reading and support with inductions and safety in the gym, Josie is working on developing important corporate relationships and Mike constantly excels in our allotments, even teaching our families how to grow their own vegetables and how to better understand wildlife and Margaret has been a fervent volunteer for many, many years and consistently helps us with thanking our supporters and donors. These are just a few of our remarkable volunteers, whom we will endeavour to develop in a way that meets their needs and the needs of our families.

We have developed a range of supportive activities for our families and the community, allowing individuals to design, create, paint and even sell items, produced in our workshop and craft room. We now have our volunteers, Roger and John helping to create a full workshop environment on-site, where they impart their knowledge and specialist skills.

Nicky has introduced a young person’s timetable, to include circuit training, football and other sporting activities; also other more sedentary activities for some!

We have engaged further with government and developed relationships with organisations which provide work readiness and work experience opportunities, as well as providing such opportunities ourselves, including gardening, cooking, crafting, woodworking, facilities support, donations sorting and cleaning.

Of course, to maintain the site and improve our services to families, we must strive to bring in funding. John stated in his last blog “My fervent prayer mentioned in my last blog remains. It is that government will recognise and take responsibility for underpinning the charity sector to help deliver the promise of Big Society”. This is also my wish and now my belief that there are routes to achieving this, this year. Watch this space…

One of the challenges for any charity is to maintain a good reputation and this must be driven by achievements. We have introduced better systems to monitor the effectiveness of our work (so we can prove we do what we say we do!) and we are evaluating our work, with support from key partners and from The Cabinet Office. Hopefully, this work will evidence what we already know, which is that there is a desperate need for our services across Cheshire and beyond. John mentioned also in his last blog that the cost of our care system in England was very high and that Save the Family could deliver effective services for far less, whilst in many cases keeping the family together. This is our mantra with government and is now proving to be a valuable approach, particularly when considering Social Investment.

All-in-all we now have a better equipped team, frontline and back-office, who are ready and able to deal with our families at a very real level. We are developing our staff and volunteers in an inclusive way, enabling them to better understand and serve our families and the community. The combination of heart and head is required for our work and I feel so lucky that each day I meet people who demonstrate the values, which we hold so dear. One day we may be representing the families’ needs in court and discussing how parents have engaged and learned to better interact with statutory agencies; the next we will be providing a calming hand in their homes, in some sort of family chaos, having a coffee and a chat. This is all part of a day’s work, here at Save the Family.

I am forever grateful to our Board for giving me this opportunity to lead a charity with such a massive heart and a massive presence too; what other local charity could fill a cathedral to celebrate 40 years of good work – only one with a much larger presence and much larger challenge on its hands.

I am comfortable in the knowledge that my management team will help me to provide the leadership the charity needs, to secure key funding and key relationships within government and to ensure our services meet the needs of our families, which after all is why I and many at Save the Family come to work in the mornings!

Lastly and importantly, may I take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers, supporters, funders, partners and staff; without you all, Save the Family would not be able to rise to this challenge and many, many families would not have the life chances that we are able to offer them.


Simon Groom

Chief Executive

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In the Run Up to Christmas…

This December has already been the busiest time of year for us, and will probably continue to be so. This is in no small part down to the generosity of the local community as Cheshire and Flintshire-based companies, groups and individuals offer up a wonderful wealth of gifts for our families here on site. Read more

Mentor Chalkboard

Making Positive Progress

My last blog made reference to how time flies and since writing that blog we have been working hard to develop the charity and achieve sustainability.  Charities are all working hard to become sustainable against the back cloth of reduced government funding.  The real challenge facing most charities is to cover core costs and unfortunately many funders are more interested in supporting new projects.  Those funders that do support core costs are inundated with applications and their limited funds are now being spread more thinly.


Here at Save the Family, we have been working hard on a number of fronts:

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