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Davina McCall puts spotlight on kinship carers


Davina McCall puts spotlight on kinship carers

Davina McCall helps to shine a light on the incredible work of kinship carers this Red Nose Day…

Davina also shares her own first-hand experience of growing up in kinship care, having been raised by her grandmother from the age of four.

Davina McCall:

“Red Nose Day and Comic Relief is part of my DNA, I have lived and breathed this charity my entire adult life. I love what they do, how they work, the passion of their employees, and the charities that they support. Kinship is a charity particularly close to my heart and one I’ve supported before I even knew Red Nose Day were involved in helping spread their message. Getting to know Wendy, Kelly and Meyrem was extremely moving – not only was I able to learn more about their amazing work, but I was able to have conversations that I relate to on a deep level and was able to honour my grandmother who did such a sterling job with me.  

“Taking in the child of a family member or friend is really, really, hard. Sometimes people end up sleeping on sofas to try and make their beds available for kids that they’ve taken in, sometimes they’ll go without food in order to feed the children that they’ve suddenly started looking after. But this act can change a child’s life forever and the work that Kinship does to support these families is really valuable. I know that times are tough but even giving a little this Red Nose Day, can make a massive difference”. 

Kinship carers are the relatives or family friends who step up to raise children when their parents can’t. There are more than 180,000 children in kinship care in the UK that are living with family members in a stable and loving home.

Money raised by Red Nose Day, which returns tomorrow, will support Kinship, the leading kinship care charity in England and Wales.

Lucy Peake, CEO of Kinship:

“Unlike foster carers or adoptive parents, there is little awareness about kinship care and as a result, little support available. Our research tells us that more than 7 in 10 kinship carers do not feel they are getting adequate support to raise the children in their care, despite stepping up at a moment’s notice to raise children in a loving and stable home.”

To show how donations to Red Nose Day can make a real difference for families facing challenging circumstances here in the UK, Davina, who was raised by her grandmother from the age of four, spent time with Wendy, Kelly and Meyrem, who all became kinship carers after taking in the child of a relative.

Speaking about their experiences in the film, which can be viewed on YouTube, the women all described feeling isolated, and facing struggles both financially and emotionally in what was an incredibly difficult time. None of the women were even aware of the term ‘kinship carer’ and struggled alone for a long time, until they were directed to Kinship.

Kinship offers free training sessions, one-to-one support, peer support groups, an expert advice line and an online information hub. Comic Relief funding supports Kinship’s #ValueOurLove campaign, which calls for equal support between kinship families and foster and adoptive families. They also train kinship carer campaigners, including Wendy, Kelly and Meyrem, who work tirelessly to raise awareness of the challenges facing families and to get kinship carers the recognition and support they need. Over the past year, more than 12,000 kinship carers across England and Wales and their supporters have taken an active role in the campaign.

Grandmother kinship carer, Wendy said, I was so used to working full-time to my own schedule, and then I suddenly had a small child who was fully dependent on me and the whole structure of my life changed. I just felt so isolated. For a very long time I really did feel like I was the only grandparent in the world bringing up grandchildren, I knew nobody else. But through Kinship I’ve met others – not just grandparents – in the same situation as me and I’ve realised I’m not alone in doing this. Kinship has given us our own identity.

“The funding from Comic Relief has been amazing, it’s helped bring kinship carers together, to let them know that support is out there, and has helped get kinship care more widely known.”

Lucy Peake, CEO of the Kinship:

“It was wonderful to see Davina meet some of the kinship carers that we support and empower to campaign for the financial, practical and emotional support that families like theirs need. As someone who grew up in kinship care herself, Davina had real insight into the experiences of kinship families and the challenges they have faced. Comic Relief’s support has been transformational in enabling kinship carers to be seen, heard, valued and better supported.”

The visit comes as Davina is preparing to host the Red Nose Day night of TV, which returns to BBC One on Friday 15 March at 7pm. Davina will present the star-studded night of entertainment, which will be jam packed with hilarious sketches, live performances, exciting surprises and big prizes, alongside Joel Dommett, Sir Lenny Henry, Maya Jama, Paddy McGuiness, Rosie Ramsey, Romesh Ranganathan and David Tennant.

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