Banbury-based Adoption UK calls on public for help this Christmas

Adoption UK chief executive Dr Sue Armstrong Brown NNL-181218-134349009
Adoption UK chief executive Dr Sue Armstrong Brown NNL-181218-134349009

Banbury-based charity Adoption UK is calling on the public to help raise funds to support some of the UK’s most vulnerable children and their families.

The national charity, whose headquarters is at Vantage Business Park between Banbury and Bloxham, is inundated with calls from adoptive parents in need of help.

Adoption UK receives around 12,000 contacts, which includes calls and emails, a year to its helpline, of which 5,000 are missed or unanswered – so for every three calls they answer, another two are missed.

Most can be phoned back but many will be calling in crisis and in need of immediate support.

So Adoption UK, which receives no government funding, needs to raise more money in order for its staff to help more families.

Chief executive Sue Armstrong Brown said: “We love being a Banbury charity so we would love people to be more involved with us so if you feel interested in helping a child with a traumatic past then please donate.”

Many adopted children have suffered neglect, violence and abuse in their birth families.

These traumatic experiences have a lasting impact on their lives and the lives of their adoptive families.

In Oxfordshire, 40 children were adopted from care during 2017, up by ten compared to the previous year

Adoption UK responds to thousands of requests for help from adoptive parents each year, but the charity is in urgent need of more funding to reach many more families in need.

It costs the charity £5 to answer a call to their helpline. Start up costs for a new community volunteer are £50.

Adoptive parent Claire describes the support she received from Adoption UK as ‘life-changing’.

“Our daughter is very anxious and loses control of her emotions. She lashes out. At school she became a target for bullying,” she said.

“She was like a little bomb waiting to go off. The school made us feel like it was our fault. Our family was at breaking point.”

Alison Woodhead with her adopted daughter Mary (not her real name). Photo: Adoption UK NNL-181218-141545001

Alison Woodhead with her adopted daughter Mary (not her real name). Photo: Adoption UK NNL-181218-141545001

After speaking to an adviser on the Adoption UK helpline, Claire met with one of the charity’s directors.

“Finally someone understood,” she said.

“The help we received gave us the confidence to change schools. She’s much happier and our life has changed so much for the better.

“Adoption UK made us realise we were not rubbish at parenting and it was worth fighting for the support our daughter deserves.”

To donate, text ADPT18 £5 (or another amount) to 70070 to help Adoption UK be there for every single adopted child and their family.

Or visit justgiving.com/fundraising/giffgaffgivingtuesday2018

We love being a Banbury charity so we would love people to be more involved with us.

Sue Armstrong Brown

Single-mum knows value of support

Alison Woodhead has only been working for Adoption UK for nearly a year but her links to the charity go much further back. She used to volunteer for them but is now director of public affairs and communications. Alison, 53, who lives in Oxford but works at the Banbury office, is also an adoptive parent with a 12-year-old daughter.

As a single mum, there have been times where she has relied on Adoption UK’s support when the going got tough.

“When you’re trying to stick up for your child at school and perhaps the school isn’t understanding her needs or other challenges, it’s really good to be able to come to the experts at Adoption UK for advice,” she said.

Adoption UK has a wide range of resources to support adoptive parents, from training courses and helpful documents, to support groups and the helpline.

Alison said she found the charity’s forums, where adoptive parents can discuss issues and give other advice, particularly helpful.

Alison said her and Mary, not her real name, have a very special bond and rely on each other for support but there have been times where she has needed help.

She said: “It’s a very challenging and surreal time when your child comes to live with you so the online forums means you connect to others like you who are a lifeline when you first adopt.

“As a first-time adoptive parent you have all sorts of trepidations, anxieties and worries about when your child comes home and what kind of parent you’re going to be and what the child went through before they came to you and you worry about doing a good job, so it’s important you can speak to other adopters who have been there and give you assurance you are doing the right thing.”

Alison regularly talks about the delights and challenges of being an adoptive parent as she believes it helps to break down stigmas the public may have about adoption.

“It makes me feel more determined to help people doing their best to support vulnerable children.”

Be a volunteer for the new year

Have you been touched by adoption, or would you simply like to volunteer for a local charity?

If you answered ‘yes’ to either of these questions then Banbury-based Adoption UK would love to hear from you.

Scott Casson Rennie from the charity said: “If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution for 2019 then how about volunteering for us in an admin role?

“We’re a very friendly charity so you’d be made to feel most welcome and your help would be much appreciated!

“The only age restriction is that you must be at least 16, so you could be retired, or simply looking to volunteer as part of your Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

“And you don’t need to have knowledge or personal experience of adoption.”

Adoption UK provides support, community and advocacy for all adoptive parents.

To find out more, email Scott at england@adoptionuk.org.uk