Kinship charity’s £100k boost leads to new group for Hartlepool

Karen and Michael Doherty from Billingham look after their grandchildren Leah 20, not in picture, Corey 10, Lacey 6 and Taylor 3. Pic Doug Moody Photography.
Karen and Michael Doherty from Billingham look after their grandchildren Leah 20, not in picture, Corey 10, Lacey 6 and Taylor 3. Pic Doug Moody Photography.

A new group for youngsters living with grandparents and other family members is set to be launched in Hartlepool, thanks to a £100,000 funding boost.

The cash injection to charity Grandparents Plus from the Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation will fund a three-year project aimed at developing new approaches to support kinship carers.

Caring for four grandchildren full-time at my age isn’t easy, of course, but the kids are my priority and I’ll always put them first.

Karen Doherty

This will include a new group providing activities during school holidays in Hartlepool, a part-time project worker, and the delivery of practical master classes in parenting and managing family relationships.

Grandparents Plus supports grandparents and other family members who are caring for children in difficult family circumstances.

Almost 2,300 Teesside children are raised by family members - known as kinship carers - when their parents are unable to look after them.

Children in kinship care have often experienced trauma, neglect and abuse while witnessing parental drug and alcohol misuse, imprisonment or death.

Karen Doherty, of Billingham, cares full-time for four of her 15 grandchildren – Taylor three, Lucy, six, Corey, 10, and Leah, 20 - as a result of the emotional neglect suffered by the children following her daughter’s drugs and alcohol misuse.

Karen, 57, who is supported by husband Tommy, said: “Caring for four grandchildren full-time at my age isn’t easy, of course, but the kids are my priority and I’ll always put them first.

“Over the years I’ve had to give up two full-time jobs to look after the children, which is hard when you’ve already taken on a big mortgage, but there are many others in similarly difficult situations, across Teesside Grandparents Plus is a lifeline. They are there if you need them and it’s reassuring to know there’s always somebody with knowledge who is on your side. It’s great news that they’ve been given this money to do more good.”

Lucy Peake, chief executive of Grandparents Plus, said: “This donation will help us reach more people across Teesside, giving them and the children they’re caring for the support they need.”

For information on Grandparents Plus visit www.grandparentsplus.org.uk