Volunteers from more than 500 churches across the UK have actively supported vulnerable families through the Christian charity, Safe Families for Children (SFC). The charity opens the door into the community for Christian volunteers by connecting families needing support with those able to give it.
In a time where national statistics show volunteering levels have declined by 15 per cent over a decade, the charity has seen increasing numbers of volunteers stepping forward. SFC partners with churches of all denominations and many church leaders see it as a practical way for the church to ‘love their neighbour’, engaging with and supporting vulnerable families in the local community.
According to a recent survey of 1,094 Anglican church leaders by the Church Urban Fund and the Church of England, 80 per cent of church leaders surveyed agreed community work helps church members to live out and grow in their Christian faith.
Some 97 per cent agreed that engaging with the poor and marginalised in the local area is a vital activity for a healthy church. Tony Coe, volunteer with SFC, commented, ‘As a Christian I always struggle with being able to do practical things with my faith. I thought, here is something that I can really do to live out my faith in a very practical way: supporting families’.
Volunteers are recruited and trained by the charity in one of three roles: Host Homes look after a child for a couple of days to a couple of weeks; Family Friends befriend and mentor parents through difficult times; and Resource Friends supply a wide range of goods and services the family needs.