Spurgeons

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Spurgeons is a charitable organisation that aims to create positive lasting change for vulnerable children and young people. They are based in Rushden, Northamptonshire, and have been in existence since 1867.

History and Faith Basis[edit]

Spurgeons have been working with marginalised and disadvantaged children and young people for over 145 years.

The charity was founded in 1867 as a compassionate and distinctively Christian response to the plight of orphaned and vulnerable children in London. Motivated by their faith, Charles Haddon Spurgeon and his associates sought to provide shelter, education and a loving environment for the city's most vulnerable children.

In the 21st Century Spurgeons continue to live out this legacy working with society’s most vulnerable children, and striving to leave a positive imprint on the life of every child worked with.

Today this Christian faith remains an active and important motivation for their work. It forms the transparent base from which they engage with people of all faiths and beliefs.

The charity's work has changed considerably since its early days, having evolved from a number of homes for fatherless boys into several long-term strategic partnerships with local authorities, churches and other supporters to provide a wide variety of vital services for children and young people.

Currently Spurgeons run almost 100 services operating across England, and their work is broadly split into the following services:

  • Supporting young carers
  • Supporting young people and communities
  • Supporting families
  • Supporting parents
  • Supporting children separated from their parents
  • Supporting children following bereavement
  • Supporting troubled children
  • Supporting children at risk of exclusion and offending
  • Supporting the really young

Charitable Objectives[edit]

To provide education, maintenance and support to children, young people and their families who:

  • have lost either or both parents
  • are with a single parent
  • have been removed from or abandoned by their parents
  • have parents who are separated or divorced
  • in the opinion of the Directors of the Charity (the Trustees) are in need of care or protection.

To provide financial assistance for education, social care and vocational training for children, young people and families overseas in such locations as the Trustees may determine from time to time.

Mission Statement and Core Values[edit]

"Spurgeons journeys with vulnerable children and young people to create a lasting impact, spurring them on within their families and communities, by building self esteem, resilience and hope".

The charity holds the following core values, which articulate the principles and style that are central to the way they seek to operate as an organization:

  • Caring

Spurgeons recognise that a central need of all people is to feel safe, valued and loved. In all of the charity's relationships they seek to demonstrate care, compassion and commitment, to be affirming and nonjudgmental.

  • Inclusive

Recognising each person as a unique individual, treating them with respect and celebrating diversity.

  • Holistic

Spurgeons deal with people in a holistic way, showing concern for every aspect of their lives and seeking justice when people are treated unfairly.

  • Hopeful

Spurgeons believe that positive change is possible for all people, so seek to maintain a hopeful attitude and proactive approach.

  • Responsive

Spurgeons have a flexible approach that is responsive to the different needs encountered. They seek to be creative and innovative and are prepared to look for new solutions.

  • Professional

High standards are set for seeking quality, and the organization aims to learn from its mistakes in an open and honest way. They welcome partnership with others who share their Core Values.

Safeguarding Policy[edit]

Spurgeons places the safeguarding of children at the heart of its work. The principles which underpin their commitment to Safeguarding are:

  • the safety and well being of children and young people is paramount
  • children and young people have a right to protection from neglect, abuse and exploitation
  • children and young people have the right to be protected from discrimination and to be valued as individuals
  • safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility

Spurgeons' practice and policies underpin these responsibilities and they have robust internal processes that enable them to promote a culture of learning and continuous improvement in their safeguarding work.

Young Carers[edit]

Young carers are expected to assume a level of responsibility that would normally only be asked of an adult. The stress and anxiety of carrying adult burdens can leave them feeling isolated and left-out. Many miss out on their childhood as time constraints make it impossible for them to attend school or take part in leisure activities with their peers.

Spurgeons know that these children need help to overcome the challenges they face. They work in partnership with other agencies to support young carers individually and within their families in a range of ways, including:

  • Days off to have fun with other children
  • Information, advice and practical help for the family
  • Access to educational support
  • One-to-one sessions with a trained Spurgeons worker
  • Homework clubs and tutorials
  • Befriending and mentoring support

Children 0-5 Years[edit]

Spurgeons recognize that poverty places a great burden on parents, restricts childhood development and, in extreme cases, shortens lives. Working with children in the early years of their life is the most effective way to ensure that those experiencing deprivation can still look forward to choices and opportunities.

Focusing on communities with high-levels of poverty, Spurgeons staff work with mothers at the pre-natal stage, through birth and up to the age of five. Their range of services typically include:

  • young parents groups
  • parenting education - parenting advice and groups
  • supporting parent and child relationships -family therapy, nurturing
  • baby-clinics
  • stay and play sessions
  • father support groups
  • helping parents to return to work

Young People and Communities[edit]

Spurgeons recognises that one of the most effective ways to reach vulnerable young people is by working with them in their own community. By establishing dialogue with children and young people most at risk of deprivation, they can better understand them and better help their community to find solutions to the challenges they face. Spurgeons' aim is to facilitate them in doing this through training, support and skills-enhancement. They provide activities such as:

  • parenting support
  • youth and children’s activities
  • community events
  • homework clubs

Such activities are designed to help people to deal with issues like inter-generational breakdown and anti-social behaviour and can help to build stronger families and healthier and more cohesive communities.

Family Support[edit]

Many of the families most in need of Spurgeons' support have to deal with a number of complex issues. Often these issues cannot be addressed by any one agency alone.

Spurgeons works in partnership with a variety of child-support agencies and through children’s centres, family centres and within family homes. Staff with wide-ranging expertise provide help and advice that is specifically tailored to the needs of each family.

This encourages families to address negative patterns of behaviour, to function better as a unit and to provide their children with the best possible start in life

Working in parent’s homes or in children’s and family centres in the heart of the community, highly-trained Spurgeons staff provide advice and build confidence through one-to-one sessions, parenting programmes and group work.

A welcoming approach helps parents to discuss the challenges that they face and allows them to access support that will be of benefit to the whole family.

Separated and Bereaved Children[edit]

Spurgeons offer the following services for children separated from their families:

  • child contact services

Contact centres are meeting places where children from separated families can enjoy contact with one (or both) parents and/or other family members in a comfortable and safe environment. Visits are tailored around the needs of each child. It is estimated that 2,000 children in the UK use Child Contact Centres each week.

  • independent visitors services

For bereaved children, trained Spurgeons counsellors ensure that each session responds to the needs of the individual child, using games, art and creative play to help children to come to terms with their loss.

Wherever possible, counsellors work with children in the environment where they feel most relaxed. Usually this is a place they perceive as ‘safe’, such as school. This helps them to feel comfortable enough to deal with the complex and painful issues that bereavement can raise.

Troubled Children[edit]

For troubled children, those with emotional, behavioural and mental health issues, the challenges of coping with everyday life can seem doubly frightening and confusing. Often these children respond to their experiences in ways that seem damaging and can be hard for people to understand or respond to.

Spurgeons offers early intervention support for troubled children, often in collaboration with other agencies and professionals.

After an initial assessment period, Spurgeons' teams work closely with children and their families. Together they aim to get to grips with the issues, to build self-confidence and self-esteem and to find solutions to vicious cycles of problems and behaviours.

Ongoing care for troubled children helps to provide rules, boundaries and crisis intervention if needed. By helping parents to gain a better understanding of their child’s needs they can positively address mental health challenges. This can stop issues from escalating and prevent future problems before they arise.

Families of Offenders and Children at Risk of Offending[edit]

In partnership with the Police, schools, social workers and Youth Offending teams, Spurgeons supports families at times of crisis and provides one- to-one mentoring and befriending for children, as well as outreach work.

Spurgeons' expertise is in understanding, delivering and measuring the most appropriate outcomes for vulnerable children and their families. They have the links and capacity to ensure that a child visiting a relative in prison receives additional support once the prison visit is over. Spurgeons are experts at pulling together all the relevant agencies required to give the child and their family the support they need to deal with the challenges prison life can bring for the entire family. The charity currently works in 9 prisons Visitor's Centres.

Current operations[edit]

Spurgeons head office is based in Rushden with several offices in the UK.

Spurgeons works with vulnerable families, children and young people.

Spurgeons currently run the visitor centres in all of the London prisons.

External links[edit]