A GRANT for £120,000 will see vulnerable families across South Somerset supported by a new charity.

Safe Families for Children, which works with councils to support vulnerable families and reduce the flow of children into care, has unveiled expansion plans to work with Somerset County Council.

The charity has secured a £120,000 grant from the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trust to expand its work from Southampton, Bournemouth and Hampshire further along the coast to South Somerset and Mendip.

Keith Danby, chief executive for Safe Families for Children, said: “We are thrilled about the expansion into Somerset which will enable us to help more struggling families.

“The generosity of Lord and Lady Sainsbury will make a huge difference in getting families the support they need, when they need it.

“Everyone has a part to play in reducing the breakdown of the family, whether that’s through generous donations, prayers, volunteering, or other kinds of support.

“Safe Families is a community-based solution to a community-based problem. It’s just people helping people.”

Safe Families, which aims to prevent children from needlessly having to go into the care system, has seen 91 families supported in the south coast since the charity began accepting referrals from local authorities in mid 2015.

During that time, 226 children benefitted from the charity’s volunteer support.

In partnership with Somerset County Council, from April Safe Families will support 72 families in Somerset over the next 18 months, benefitting an estimated 178 children.

Families are supported by volunteers from the local community who have been recruited and trained by the charity in one of three ways: n Host Families look after a child for a couple of days to a couple of weeks, n Family Friends befriend and mentor parents through difficult times and, n Resource Friends supply a wide range of goods and services the family needs.

Safe Families is holding an open information evening on January 29 from 7.30pm at Peter Street Rooms, Peter Street, Shepton Mallet.

For more, visit safefamiliesforchildren.com.