Recent News

  • 04th January 2017

    PACT receives £400 from Reading Councillors

    PACT was delighted to receive a cheque for £400 in December from Labour Councillors at Reading Borough Council. The Councillors personally contributed to make the donation which was organised by Cllr Deborah Edwards.PACT's Fundraising Manager Laura Davison (pictured) visited the Civic Centre to collect the cheque. She said: "We are delighted to receive this generous donation, made personally by the Councillors. They have chosen to donate the money specifically to our Alana House Project."PACT's Alana House project supports vulnerable women in Reading and West Berkshire. The project uses a holistic approach to support women by empowering them to take control of their lives, make informed decisions and improve their life chances. Find out more about Alana House here. 

  • 22nd December 2016

    Inspirational adoptive mum awarded MBE

    Sue and Jim Clifford

    ADOPTION charity Parents and Children Together (PACT) is celebrating the inclusion of one of its adopters in the New Year Honours list. Sue Clifford is being awarded an MBE for services to children and families.PACT supports families across the south east through adoption, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects.Sue and husband Jim Clifford OBE, have adopted nine children over the last 20 years, the last five of whom were through PACT. They chose adoption over IVF after being unable to conceive and have used therapeutic parenting methods to transform the lives of their children, all of whom had complex needs.The first children they adopted, their eldest daughters, were six and almost 10 when placed. The girls had been overlooked by other adopters due to their ages, and the local authority was considering splitting them up.Sue said: “The girls had always lived together, and Jim and I were horrified to think they might be separated.” For Jim and Sue it was the start of a remarkable family life, going on to adopt a further seven children.The couple believe that “every child should have the best childhood they can” and after adopting their own children, they founded a pioneering scheme – IAAM (It’s All About Me) to find adopters for the children who often wait the longest to be adopted.The IAAM scheme recognises that there is a group of children for whom moving to a new family and forming attachments is particularly difficult. The scheme provides adopters with an enhanced support package and additional support.PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick said: “We are delighted that Sue’s inspirational story has been recognised. What makes this extraordinary couple stand out from other adoptive parents is that their motivation to adopt was completely altruistic, as they deliberately set out to adopt specifically hard-to-place, older children with very complex needs. This is indeed a rare commodity in the world of adoption.“Sue has the most amazing ability to build her children’s self-esteem, making them feel worthy and valued.  She is hugely empathetic and, despite many setbacks and initial rejections, never falters in her unending advocacy, support, love and therapeutic care of her children. “The scale of her achievement, and that of her children’s with her guiding hand, not only has a massive impact on these new members of society, but on society itself.  The impact is unending.”Sue said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this award, it is a complete surprise and completely unexpected.“Over the years I have supported well over 100 families, many for extended periods. Currently I am supporting around 25 families in total, and also co-facilitating Diadic Developmental Pschotherapy training for adoptive families. I have also spoken at conferences and support groups to encourage and support adopters and to campaign for more appropriate training and adoption support.”To find out more about PACT visit: www.pactcharity.org.  Sue and husband Jim are pictured speaking at a PACT event in 2011.

  • 08th December 2016

    Maidenhead girl raises money for cause close to her heart

    Parents and Children Together (PACT) has thanked a schoolgirl from Maidenhead who recently raised £122 for them.Rhiannon, aged nine, who attends Claires Court school in Maidenhead chose to support PACT, as the charity helped her family to adopt her younger brother, Harley.PACT supports families across Berkshire and beyond through adoption, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects.Rhiannon organised events across the school week; selling bracelets, styling classmates hair and she also ran a guess how many sweets in the jar competition. Rhiannon gave a presentation in assembly about the work that PACT do. Rhiannon said: “I am supporting PACT as the charity that supported us as a family to adopt my brother. My brother who is five has now been with us for nearly two years and he is definitely one of the family now.”PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick said: “This is a wonderful example of fundraising at such a young age. The money that Rhiannon has raised will go directly towards our work with families so that more children like Harley can find their adoptive families.”PACT Fundraising Manager Laura Davison visited Rhiannon in school to receive the cheque and presented Rhiannon with a certificate. Laura said: “There are lots of different ways to support PACT. We welcome fundraisers of all ages, and provide help and support along the way. Please get in touch if you would like to get involved and fundraise for PACT.”To find out more about fundraising for PACT visit: www.pactcharity.org/support-us.

  • 11th November 2016

    A free Christmas Carol Concert for the whole family at Dorchester Abbey

    Parents and Children Together (PACT) is inviting local families to join its annual Carol Concert at Dorchester Abbey on Sunday 11th December.The concert will include performances from The Dorchester Abbey Choir, Benson Military Wives Choir and young soprano Erin Hughes. There will be plenty of opportunities for the congregation to join in with some classic Christmas Carols.PACT supports families across Oxfordshire and beyond through adoption, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects.The concert begins at 5pm with a family tea party from 4pm. Tickets are free but must be booked online. Donations to PACT’s work with families will be welcomed.PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick said: “This is one of the highlights of the year at PACT. It’s a wonderfully festive event, which many PACT families attend year after year. All are welcome so please do come along and help us celebrate family life this Christmas.”To find out more and book your free tickets visit: www.pactcharity.org/carols.  

  • 09th November 2016

    PACT statement in reaction to ITV documentary Britain’s Adoption Scandal: Breaking the Silence

    An ITV documentary is to be screened on November 9 about unmarried mothers in the 50s, 60s and 70s who felt pressured to give up their babies for adoption.The documentary tells the stories of women who gave up their babies when the church ran mother and baby homes.The Catholic Church has issued an apology to the women. Cardinal Vincent Nichols acknowledged the “the grief and pain caused by the giving up of a child through adoption”, adding: “Sadly for unmarried mothers, adoption was considered to be in the best interests of the mother and child because of the associated stigma and the lack of support for lone parents.”In reaction to the documentary and this apology, PACT has released the following statement:“Adoption has, throughout the last century, been society’s mirror.  Just as this apology highlights society’s intolerance in the mid twentieth century, adoption today champions inclusion, alternative lifestyles and sexualities, myriad ethnicities and cultures, and reflects a modern Britain where single parents achieve highly positive outcomes for the children they nurture, sometimes against all odds.“In welcoming this apology, we must also be mindful of the significant progress made in national care legislation that requires statutory multi-agency checks and balances to be in place before a child is removed for his or her parents. “Adoption, as the best permanence option for any child in this sad and desperate situation, remains an important governmental activity today requiring more ordinary people to step forward and become extraordinary adopters.”Read more about this story in The Guardian here. 

  • 07th November 2016

    Can you spare as little as £5 to help local children under five affected by domestic abuse?

    Parents and Children Together (PACT) has launched a crowdfunding appeal to pilot a project supporting children under five who have witnessed domestic abuse.The new programme will be part of PACT’s successful Bounce Back 4 Kids (BB4K) project which currently supports children living in the Thames Valley aged between five and 12. The programme is innovative, working with the child and non-abusing parent at the same time, providing therapeutic support following the trauma of a family breakdown.BB4K has identified gaps in the provision of this type of support for other age groups and is experiencing a growing demand of referrals for children under the age of five.PACT CEO Jan Fishwick said: “Research has shown that by providing targeted early intervention and prevention support to this age group we can increase these children’s opportunities to have smoother transitions into primary school, improved family relationships, increased social skills and emotional intelligence.“This project is very much needed, there were 41,846 domestic abuse incidents recorded by Thames Valley Police in 2014/15 and The Home Office and The Centre for Social Justice reports that 90% of children are in the same room or the room next door during attacks on their mothers.*“If this cause is important to you please give what you can, whether it’s £5 or £500 it will make a real difference in these children’s lives.”PACT has until February 2017 to reach its target of £10,420. There are various opportunities available depending on the amount pledged by individuals including meeting with PACT’s CEO and the BB4K delivery team.To find out more about the project and donate visit: https://fundit.buzz/BounceBack4Kids    

  • 31st October 2016

    Adoption South Central Regional Event

    If you've been considering adoption, you are invited to come along to the Ageas Bowl on Saturday 26th of November, from 10am - 2pm.  PACT and six other leading local and national adoption agencies are hosting a drop-in event for prospective adopters of children in care of all ages, especially sibling groups, children aged 4 and over and children with complex needs.Friendly, professional staff will be on hand from PACT, Portsmouth City Council, Isle of Wight Council, Hampshire County Council, Southampton City Council, and Barnardo's, to answer any questions people may have. This might include queries about the adoption process, eligibility for adoption and the pre and post-adoption support available. Prospective adopters will also have the opportunity to talk in-depth to families who have already adopted children, hearing directly about their experiences of the life as a family post-adoption.    Anyone interested in adoption across the region and beyond is warmly welcomed to the event, which provides a unique opportunity to hear from multiple expert agencies at one event.  There is no need to book to come along, simply drop by on the day any time between 10am - 2pm.Event details:Saturday 26 November (10am - 2pm), The Ageas Bowl (Shaun Udal Suite), Botley Road, Southampton, S030 3XH (refreshments provided) - drop-in event (booking not required).  Directions: www.ageasbowl.com/venue/travelling-to-the-ageas-bowl/

  • 21st October 2016

    Vote for Alana House to win £30,000

    PACT's community project for vulnerable women in Reading is calling for local people to vote to help it win vital funding of £30,000.Alana House has been shortlisted by the Natwest Skills and Opportunities Fund for the chance to win the grant but must compete in a public vote against 14 other shortlisted applications for a chance to be given the funding.Alana House uses a holistic approach to provide early intervention and prevention support for women who have multiple issues, complex needs and have reached crisis point. In 2015/16 it helped more than 260 women.The grant would be used to fund a dedicated Support Worker to work on finance and employment with the women that attend Alana House. The Support Worker will be able to offer individual support to the women, for example for those who cannot read and write and those who have mental health conditions which make learning much more difficult.The Support Worker will work in partnership with Enterprise Inspiration CIC to deliver support on a range of subjects such as communication skills for work, practical sales skills, how to map their network and use this to get business, using social media to search for/promote business, personal presentation for work, business goals and planning tools.Jan Fishwick, Chief Executive at PACT said: “We know that the women at Alana House have an appetite to develop these skills. A dedicated worker will be able to build up a relationship with this vulnerable client group, supporting them one to one and in group sessions.“Between April 2016 and June 2016, 40 women were supported with needs around finance/benefit/debt/skills/employment. 30% of these women had positive outcomes and we are keen to increase this.”“Please take thirty seconds to vote for Alana House. If successful, your vote will enable local women to receive the support they need to get back into work.”To vote for the project you need to visit http://skillsandopportunitiesfund.natwest.com/vote/vote-in-south-west-and-wales.html and select ‘Vote now’ at the bottom of the page. You will then be able to select Parents And Children Together and submit your vote.To find out more about Alana House visit www.alanahouse.org. 

  • 17th October 2016

    Do you support adoption this National Adoption Week?

    PACT is calling for more adopters and for people to support adoption during National Adoption Week (17th – 23rd October 2016).This year’s campaign aims to raise awareness of the challenges of adoptive parenting and invites anyone whose life or heart is touched by adoption to post on social media using the hashtag #SupportAdoption.PACT is one of the many independent adoption agencies and local authorities up and down the country to show their support for the campaign by taking photos of themselves with #SupportAdoption posters.PACT is particularly looking for adopters for ‘priority children’ who may be aged four or over, in sibling groups, of BME heritage or have disabilities or health conditions. PACT can offer accelerated adoption assessments to the types of adopters who are needed most, in order to speed up the adoption process for the children waiting.PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick said: “The #SupportAdoption theme is very apt. At PACT we are committed to supporting our families for as long as they need us and our therapeutic adoption support service FACTS, is shortlisted in the National Adoption Week awards for Excellence in Adoption Practice.”PACT adopters Hannah and Darren* approached PACT following the National Adoption Week campaign in 2010 and have since adopted Katie who was aged four when she was placed. Helen said: “To anyone considering adoption I’d say do it, jump all over it, it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.”PACT runs frequent adoption information evenings in London, Reading and Brighton. At these events you can find out more about the process and speak informally to a PACT social worker or adopter from the area. To find out more about information events or download a Guide to Adoption visit www.pactcharity.org/adoption. You can also enquire by telephone Monday-Friday between 10am and 3pm by calling 0300 456 4800.For more information on National Adoption Week and to download a #SupportAdoption poster please visit www.first4adoption.org/nationaladoptionweek.

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