Recent News

  • 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.

  • 22nd September 2016

    PACT celebrates two years in Brighton

    Parents and Children Together (PACT) is celebrating a successful two years building new families in the city.PACT’s central Brighton office specialises in LGBT adoption but also welcomes heterosexual adopters. Since opening in 2014, 17 children have been placed for adoption with PACT Brighton families. 58% of adopters approved through the office so far are LGBT.Rated Outstanding by Ofsted, PACT supports its families for life through FACTS, its award-winning therapeutic support service. PACT can also offer accelerated adoption assessments to the types of adopters who are needed most, in order to speed up the adoption process.This weekend PACT will host a Family Fun Day for Brighton adoptive families. This will celebrate the last two years and offers the PACT families a variety of activities including face painting, circus skills, a petting zoo, as well as a BBQ feast with refreshments for all the family.PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick said: “We are delighted at the success of our Brighton office. There are 17 children who were waiting in the care system who have now been placed with their forever families as a result of our work in the area recruiting and preparing adopters.“There are still more than 2000 children in England waiting to be adopted, so I would encourage anybody considering adoption to get in touch with PACT.“Our Family Fun Day is a real celebration of adoption and allows adopters to build life-long support networks with families who share similar experiences, sharing their stories, and the challenges that arise from the unique situation of adoption. The children have a fun day out and meet new friends.”PACT adopter Emily* who lives in Brighton said: “I can't recommend PACT highly enough. All the staff are friendly and supportive whilst being experts in their field. They helped me to make difficult decisions which has led to my wonderful son who is the perfect match for me.”PACT runs frequent adoption information evenings in Brighton as well as daytime drop-ins. At these events you can find out more about the process and speak informally to a PACT social worker or adopter from the area. The next information evening takes place on 6th October 2016 and the next drop in is on Friday 4th November 2016.To find out more about information events or download a Guide to Adoption click here. You can also enquire by telephone Monday-Friday between 10am and 3pm by calling 0300 456 4800.

  • 02nd September 2016

    Could the Paralympics inspire you to adopt?

    WITH the Paralympics beginning on 7th September, Reading based adoption charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) is raising awareness of the children with a disability waiting to be adopted.PACT provides outstanding adoption (Ofsted 2014) services to local families along with award-winning therapeutic support and also runs community projects for vulnerable women in Reading and children affected by domestic abuse in Oxfordshire and West Berkshire.PACT specialises in finding families for ‘harder to place’ children who wait longer to be adopted, these children can be aged five and over, part of a sibling group, of BME heritage or have additional needs or disabilities. At the last count, more than 70% of the children waiting to be adopted in England were classed as ‘harder to place’. †PACT CEO Jan Fishwick said: “PACT has helped a number of families adopt children with physical, genetic or learning impairments including Downs Syndrome and Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and would like to find more loving homes for disabled children – who often wait the longest.”PACT adopter Joanne* has adopted three children who all have additional needs. She said: “It is a misconception that these kids are challenging. It’s different, they need you so much more than an ordinary child and the opportunity to bond is readily available.”Iraqi-born Ahmed Kelly was adopted aged seven by an Australian woman after being born with severely deformed limbs and abandoned on the doorstep of a Baghdad orphanage as a baby. After a top four finish at London 2012, Kelly will compete for Australia in the Rio 2016 Paralympic swimming events and is currently ranked first in Australia in the 100m breaststroke.To find out more about adopting with PACT visit www.pactcharity.org or call 0300 456 4800. † Statistics from: http://corambaaf.org.uk/res/statengland*Joanne’s name has been changed to protect her identity. A case study for her is available on request.

  • 23rd August 2016

    Office move completed at PACT

    PACT has recently had an office move and redesign at its headquarters in Reading. Previously occupying three premises on South Street in Reading, PACT has now condensed down to two.The whole team at PACT helped to make this major undertaking a great success. The result is a bespoke boardroom/training room, reception and meeting office suite on the ground floor at its headquarters at 7 South Street.The remaining office space at 7 South Street has been opened up to allow open-plan working for the Adoption Team; and the Facilities and HR teams have merged.PACT’s two community projects (Bounce Back for Kids and Alana House) have been brought together on the middle floor of women’s community project, Alana House at 2 South Street and the Crèche facilities have had a makeover. PACTs award-winning adoption therapeutic support service FACTS now has its own office in Alana House; and the Finance and Fundraising and Marketing teams now occupy the top floor of this building.The majority of the works were carried out by Woodley based Active FM under the supervision of PACT’s Clerk of Works Debbie Hardy and Volunteer Project Manager Phil Lewis. PACT’s existing suppliers Nouveau and Tops Security played their part in getting everything up and running, on time and with a minimum of complications.Future works involve increased soundproofing and finishing the redecoration of the Crèche by volunteers from SSE who approached PACT to offer their time and enthusiasm to help.An official opening ceremony took place on 23rd August 2016 with the “ribbon” being cut by PACT’s CEO Jan Fishwick.  In attendance was Active FM Director Phil Tarsey and volunteer Phil Lewis.PACT’s CEO Jan Fishwick said: “This has been a great success for PACT. It was particularly apt that we had a volunteer project manager, given how well our volunteering scheme is doing. The new facilities will enable us to continue to build and strengthen families through adoption, therapeutic support and community projects.”To find out more about PACT visit: www.pactcharity.org.

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