Recent News

  • 10th December 2017

    Carol Concert cancelled

    Sadly, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel this evening's Carol Concert. Although Dorchester itself isn't too badly affected by the snow the surrounding area is, and many of the transport links are struggling and driving conditions dangerous. Our main concern is everyone's safety.We are so sorry, and very disappointed. Please do share this news with anyone you know was planning to attend.We'd like to wish you a very Merry and safe Christmas, on behalf of us all at PACT

  • 23rd November 2017

    PACT’s Alana House picks up prestigious national award

    Alana House Women's Community Project has received a prestigious national award for its work reducing crime and transforming women's lives for the better.The Reading-based project has won the Howard League for Penal Reform Community Award in the women category for its innovative partnership Enrich Programme. It is the second time Alana House has received this national honour, gaining the same award in 2014 in recognition of the positive impact it has on the women it supports and their wider communities.Alana House, which is run by Parents And Children Together (PACT), supports vulnerable women by empowering them to take control of their lives, make informed decisions and improve their life chances. In 2016, 190 women accessed Alana House in Reading and its satellite service in West Berkshire.Its Enrich Programme was launched last October in partnership with Thames Valley Police, IRiS and Reading Borough Council's Troubled Families service to work with a small cohort of female low-level offenders who want to make positive changes in their lives and improve outcomes for them and their families, access support in their communities and reduce their call upon the police and other emergency services. It does this by working in partnership and providing targeted, holistic interventions including one-to-one support, group workshops, outreach, access to training, volunteering and employment opportunities, counselling, and a therapeutic PhotoVoice photography course and exhibition.In its first six months 100 per cent of women on the programme reported having increased self-esteem and self-confidence. The Howard League for Penal Reform is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison. Its annual national awards aim to recognise the country's most successful community projects encouraging desistance from crime. Catryn Yousefi, Programmes Manager at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: "Our Community Awards celebrate the success of projects that guide people away from crime and make us all safer. Only the very best schemes in the UK are honoured each year and, once again, we were delighted to receive so many high-quality nominations." Jan Fishwick OBE, Chief Executive of PACT, said: "We are thrilled and honoured to receive this award which is very well-deserved by all involved in the Enrich Programme, not least by the very courageous women who decide to turn their lives around, with the support of the project." Superintendent Stan Gilmour, Local Policing Area Commander for Reading, said: “Thames Valley Police is committed to working with our partners to reduce harm and helping our communities thrive. This programme is a wonderful example of how this approach can improve lives. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate PACT's Alana House on receiving this prestigious award." Cllr Jan Gavin, Reading's Lead Councillor for Children's Services, said: "I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the Enrich Programme for receiving this national award. It is well-deserved recognition for the partnership work which has helped bring about positive change to the lives of women in need of support in Reading." Simi Warah, Service Manager at IRiS Reading, added: "IRiS are happy to have been involved with Enrich from the outset. The increased partnership approach, resulting in more intensive support for the women involved, makes it a fantastic project and we will continue to champion it."

  • 21st November 2017

    PACT launches new domestic abuse programme in Berkshire

    FAMILY support charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) is extending its work with families affected by domestic abuse by launching new courses for young people in Bracknell.PACT has been running its innovative Bounce Back 4 Kids programme for primary school aged children and their parents who have been victims of or witness to domestic abuse in Berkshire and Oxfordshire for the past seven years, helping hundreds of families to break the cycle of domestic abuse.The charity has now secured three years’ worth of new funding from local churches to deliver a similar programme in Bracknell to help young people and their non-abusing parent to recover and move on positively with their lives following domestic abuse.The Recovery Toolkit is an eight-week course aimed at secondary school aged children. A 12-week course will run concurrently for their parent. Evidence shows outcomes are strengthened if both the parent and their child attend concurrent groups, however, we know that this isn’t always possible. The content in both groups is still valuable and we would welcome any young person or adult that wishes to positively move on from traumatic experiences.The programme, a nationally-accredited scheme that will be delivered by trained PACT community support workers, will feature interactive group sessions looking at topics ranging from how to handle difficult feelings to how to foster healthy relationships and trust. It aims to help young people understand the impact of experiencing domestic abuse, develop practical coping strategies and techniques and to help increase their confidence and self-esteem.Natausha van Vliet, Director of Business Development at PACT, said: "We were thrilled to secure funding to run The Recovery Toolkit for the first time as we have seen the positive impact that BB4K can have on younger children and their families, and we are acutely aware that there is just as much need for this kind of support for young people too."We know too well that the experiences of young people living with domestic abuse are likely to influence the way they see themselves and the world around them. The Recovery Toolkit aims to help them to come to terms with these experiences and to develop positive lifestyle and coping strategies. By also engaging with their non-abusive parent the programme ensures that families learn to support each other and move forward together."PACT's other community project, Alana House, which supports vulnerable women, is also working in Bracknell for the first time through its new Building Family Bridges project which is funded until 2020. This programme, which aims to help women turn their lives around by helping them to access education, training and employment, is also available to women in Wokingham and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.Jan Fishwick OBE, Chief Executive of PACT, said: "We are very grateful for the funding we have received to enable us to extend our vital work supporting vulnerable families and women. We know the need is there, and we know what a difference our BB4K programme and our Alana House service can make to people who need this support. I would encourage anyone who thinks they may benefit from these services to get in touch to find out more. Referrals are now being taken for The Recovery Toolkit groups due to start in January and April 2018. For more information or to make a referral email jeanie.herbert@pactcharity.org, call 0118 402 1749, or see www.bounceback4kids.org. To find out more about Alana House and its Building Family Bridges project, including how to access support and details of activities on in your area, please see www.alanahouse.org or call 0118 9217640.

  • 08th November 2017

    Get into the festive spirit with PACT!

    ADOPTION charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) will be holding its annual Christmas Carol Concert at Dorchester Abbey on Sunday 10th December.Local families are welcome to attend the concert, which will feature festive readings and performances from talented singers including The Dorchester Abbey Choir. There will also be plenty of opportunities for the congregation to join in with some classic Christmas carols. The concert will start at 5pm, with light refreshments served from 4pm. It is free to attend but booking is essential via www.pactcharity.org/carols PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick OBE said:"I always look forward to this wonderfully festive event in the beautiful Dorchester Abbey - it really is one of the highlights of the year at PACT. All are welcome so please do come along and help us celebrate family life this Christmas." And with Christmas coming, PACT is encouraging people to support its work building and strengthening families through a number of festive fundraising initiatives. Supporters can once again buy Christmas cards in aid of PACT. These can be ordered via www.pactcharity.org/christmas-cards PACT is also appealing for people to take part in this year's Reading Charity Santa Run on Sunday 3rd December on its behalf. To find out more or to enter see www.readingsantarun.co.uk, and for help and advice on how to raise sponsorship for PACT please email fundraising@pactcharity.orgOr for a less energetic way to support PACT this Christmas why not wear your best seasonal sweater in aid of the adoption charity? PACT will be holding its Christmas Jumper Day on Tuesday 12th December and is inviting local offices, schools and churches to join in with this. To find out more on how to get involved please contact fundraising@pactcharity.org

  • 19th October 2017

    PACT launches new online adoption support service

    THIS National Adoption Week, Parents And Children Together (PACT) is launching an innovative new online support service for adoptive families - www.pactadoptionsupport.orgThe adoption charity, which supports families across the south east and beyond through outstanding adoption services, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects, has developed the new online service to empower adoptive parents to help each other and access training and support.Initially being piloted with a cohort of PACT families, the new service features an online adopters' forum, one-to-one peer support via webchat, an eLearning course on attachment issues and a programme of webinars. The pilot is due for completion at the end of March 2018, when the service will be rolled out more widely.Funded by a grant from the Department for Education, PACT has worked closely with adopters to ensure the support service meets the needs of adoptive families. The charity has plans to enhance the online support through the addition of more eLearning courses as well as expanding the webinar programme.PACT, which last year placed 87 children with 62 families through its adoptive services, is launching its new pilot service during National Adoption Week, an annual national week of awareness raising organised by First 4 Adoption, which runs from 16 to 22 October. There are currently more than 2,000 children waiting to be adopted in England, and National Adoption Week is aiming to highlight the need to find families for these vulnerable children.PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick OBE said: "At PACT we are dedicated to supporting our families through the lifetime of their adoption journeys, and this new service is a really innovative way in which we can extend our support in a way that families can easily access whenever they need it. We are all very excited to be launching this pilot project to PACT families this week, and it is particularly apt that we are doing this as we mark National Adoption Week and appeal for more people to start their adoption journey with us."PACT Director of Business Development Natausha van Vliet said: "We are so pleased to be able to respond directly to the growing demand for more accessible support for adopters. Developing a digital response to this need is exciting for PACT and opens up a new way of working, as well as the opportunity to help so many more adopters. Developing these tools in alignment with adopters has been vital, listening to them and ensuring their needs are the focus, and PACT's ongoing relationship with adopters continues to flourish."To find out more about adopting with PACT visit www.pactcharity.org or call 0300 456 4800.

  • 11th October 2017

    PACT supports National Adoption Week

    ADOPTION charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) is supporting a national campaign appealing for more people to consider adopting brothers and sisters in groups of two or more.PACT, which last year placed 87 children with 62 families through its adoption services, is taking part in the annual National Adoption Week which runs from 16th to 22nd October.This year the campaign, organised by First 4 Adoption, is focusing on the need to find the right adopters for sibling groups. New figures released by First 4 Adoption reveal that 59 per cent of the children in the South East waiting for adoptive families are brothers and sisters in groups of two or more.PACT is supporting the national campaign by renewing its call for adopters who can adopt a sibling group of two or more children to enable brothers and sisters to stay together.Harry and his wife Claire adopted three siblings, all under four years old, through PACT in 2016. He said:"To adopt a sibling group of three has been the toughest and single most rewarding thing my wife and I have done. Our children have been kept together which in turn has helped with their transition to our family whilst also helping to keep their identity."Jan Fishwick OBE, Chief Executive of PACT, who has been shortlisted as a finalist in The Gareth Marr Award for Lifetime Achievement at this year’s National Adoption Week Awards, said she was delighted the agency was again supporting the national week of awareness-raising and she was particularly pleased it was focusing on the need for more adopters for siblings.She said: "At PACT we are always looking for people who could parent siblings as these children often face the longest wait for their forever family. Finding adopters with the skills and space for two or more children is crucial so that brothers and sisters, who have often had an unsettled enough start to their life, can stay together with their adoptive parents."Our teams are well-experienced at matching and placing sibling groups and in supporting these families. I would encourage anyone who could consider adopting a sibling group of two or more children to get in touch with us and find out more about what is involved. "As part of its support for National Adoption Week, staff from PACT will also be manning an information stand in Reading town centre on Thursday 19th October where people can find out more about the agency’s adoption services."To find out more about adopting with PACT visit www.pactcharity.org or call 0300 456 4800.

  • 02nd October 2017

    Can you hold a Pizza Party for PACT?

    PARENTS And Children Together (PACT) is encouraging people to support its work by holding a fundraising Pizza Party for PACT this month.The adoption charity, which supports families across the south east and beyond through adoption, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects, launched its new campaign by hosting its own Pizza Party for staff at each of its offices in Reading, London and Brighton, and is now appealing for supporters to enjoy a slice of the action!To take part all you need to do is invite your family, friends, neighbours or colleagues, either make your own pizza or order some in, and then ask your guests to make a donation to PACT. The charity is asking for people to host their parties during October ideally, but if this is not possible, any time is fine.Fundraising Manager Laura Davison said: “Your party doesn’t need to be large and shouldn’t be too complicated or require a lot of time, resources or money – it should just be a fun and easy way to get together with friends, enjoy some yummy food and help raise funds for a great cause.“There is lots of information about how you can get involved on our website, including party invites, posters and bunting plus recipe ideas and a Pizza Party sweepstake game. Please do get in touch if you have any questions, and we’d love to hear how your parties go!”PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick OBE added: “I think this is a really great way for families, friends, neighbours and colleagues to get together and raise funds for our vital work. Every single party will make a difference by enabling us to reach out and support more vulnerable children and families.”To find out more see www.pactcharity.org/pizza or if you have any questions or would like to request a fundraising pack please email fundraising@pactcharity.org

  • 28th September 2017

    PACT statement on Adoption UK/BBC Survey

    Adoption changes the lives of hundreds of people every year and provides stability and security for some of society’s most vulnerable children. The survey carried out by Adoption UK and the BBC found that nine out of 10 adopters said they were glad they adopted. Media reports about the survey also highlighted that many adoptive families are living with difficult issues including violent behaviour. PACT recognises that alongside the joys of adopting there are sometimes challenges. When children have experienced trauma in their early lives before being adopted there is always a risk that this may impact their behaviour later on.PACT prides itself on its adoption support services, including its award-winning therapeutic support service FACTS, to help its families prepare for adoption and for life afterwards.PACT offers a comprehensive training programme for adopters and has therapeutically trained social workers on hand to support families, including those dealing with complex behaviour and violence. PACT is about to launch its innovative Online Adoption Support Service which includes e-learning, one-to-one live peer support, adopter forums and webinars. We hope this offers adoptive families even more vital support when they need it. PACT welcomes the government’s commitment to adoption support, including the Adoption Support Fund, which provides funding for therapeutic support.

  • 31st August 2017

    PACT holds special event for prospective adopters

    PACT is holding a special event in Reading for anyone interested in finding out more about adoption.The agency is inviting anyone considering adoption to come along to the event on Saturday 9th September at which a panel of PACT adopters will be sharing their adoption stories and answering questions about their experiences of adoption.There will also be opportunities for people to talk individually with experienced adopters and PACT social workers as well as to meet other prospective adopters over refreshments.PACT supports families across the south east through adoption, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects. Last year PACT placed 87 children with 62 families through its adoption services. There are currently more than 2,000 children waiting to be adopted in England.PACT is particularly looking for couples or single people, including those from the LGBT community, who can consider adopting children over four years old, sibling groups of two or more children, children with a black or minority ethnic background and children who may have physical or learning disabilities. PACT is also keen to hear from people interested in its Foster for Adoption initiative. This involves babies and young children being placed with potential adopters under a temporary fostering arrangement while decisions are made through the family court process about the child’s future.Karen and Charmaine, who have two adopted daughters, the youngest of whom they adopted through PACT last year, are among the adopters taking part in the panel.Karen said: “Adoption really has shaped my life. It is without doubt, the most incredible journey I have ever been on and my wife and I now have the most beautiful life with our two adopted daughters.“The events PACT run to find out more can be the start of an exciting and rewarding adventure. It's a chance to meet others thinking about adopting, as well as hear from people like me and my wife about what it's all about. It can be a very reassuring opportunity to ask all those questions you have been thinking about and find out the next step so do come along if you can.” PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick added: “This event is an ideal opportunity for anyone considering adoption to find out what this is really like from people who have already done this. If you are at all interested in starting or extending your family through adoption please do come along to hear from and speak to some of our inspirational families and expert staff to help work out if this is right for you.”The event will be held at PACT’s office on South Street, Reading from 10am until midday. It will start with a brief presentation about the adoption process followed by the question and answer session with the panel of adopters. It is free to attend, but people will need to book a place by calling 0300 456 4800 or emailing enquiries@pactcharity.org PACT is also holding an adoption information evening in London on Thursday 21st September from 6.30pm until 8pm, and an adoption drop-in session in Brighton on Friday 22nd September from 11am until 2pm.  To find out about these events, or for more information about PACT and its adoption services, please visit www.pactcharity.org, call 0300 456 4800 or email enquiries@pactcharity.org 

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