Filling a funding gap for GAPS
Somerset furniture company, Myakka, supports carefully selected community groups across the county through the Myakka Grassroots Fund, which is administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF).
The latest to benefit from the Fund is Wincanton group, Guardian Adoptive Parental Support (GAPS). Set up in September 2017 by Liz Morley and Sammie Peckover, this inspiring group offers support to families caring for children under special guardianship orders and adoptive parents.
Special guardianship is a legal order where parental responsibility for a child unable to live with its birth parents is given to a carer, most often a relative. Sadly, this is usually the result of traumatic circumstances which can be anything from family breakdown to addiction issues.
Liz explains: “Families or adoptive parents who find themselves in this situation are often completely on their own. Often families will have to move to a new area, and for grandparents it can mean a complete lifestyle change. The aim of GAPS is to provide ongoing emotional support and practical advice during what can be a truly harrowing time.”
Simon Whitehead, director of Myakka, attended one of the monthly meetings at the Balsam Centre with Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager at SCF, and presented a cheque for £2,500 to the group.
“It has been a real privilege to meet members and to be given an insight into some of the challenges they are facing,” he said. “For carers and adoptive parents to know that there is a friendly group of people who understand what they are going through and who are there to help is invaluable.”
Kirsty continued: “Somerset Community Foundation has been proud to work with Myakka over the years in order to support some great community groups in the Wincanton area. GAPS is a really good example of how this can work. They’re a grassroots group meeting the everyday needs of local families who have taken on special guardianship orders and adoptions.”
The funding will go towards the room hire and refreshments for the next year, as well as holiday activities and days out which can help to strengthen family bonds. “To ensure we are as effective as possible, we would also like to undertake safeguarding training,” said Liz. “This is just the beginning. Ultimately we want every local authority in the country to have a GAPS group.”