New Family Support Workers in Cumbria provide much needed boost

Rainbow Trust has welcomed two new Family Support Workers to the North West team to cover Cumbria, providing much needed support to families who have a child with a life threatening illness in this area.

Wendy Thompson, Family Support Manager for the North West, said:

“The addition of Debbie Frith from Carnforth and Sophie Harris from Carlisle is a much needed to boost to the team and means we are now in a position to take on many more families in Cumbria who have a seriously ill child.

“Cumbria is a very rural county and the feeling of isolation experienced by families can be intense. Between Debbie and Sophie we are now able to help families in the six districts of Cumbria from Carlisle in the North, across Allerdale and Copeland in the West, Eden in the East, down to Barrow-in-Furness and South Lakeland.”

Debbie joined Rainbow Trust four months ago bringing with her experience from various roles working with families and children. She said:

“I am so glad I applied for the job. I kept being drawn to the advert and after seeing videos of the work Rainbow Trust does on the charity’s website I understood the importance of Family Support Workers.

“The work we do can seem small and insignificant to an outsider, but for the families we help, it can be life-changing. Due to the distances involved, families are often split, with one or both parents having to spend long stretches at hospital with their sick child and unable to get home for days or sometimes weeks.

“We help maintain normality and quality of life for siblings, often by doing the ordinary jobs like the school run, cooking or helping with homework allowing parents to focus on the child in hospital.”

Sophie, a recent graduate from Cumbria University in Working with Children and Families, who joined Rainbow Trust in May, said:

“I feel so well supported in the role of Family Support Worker. It’s my first full time job but the advice from other members of the Family Support Team and the training provided has been amazing.

“I enjoy the variety the job provides - there is no such thing as a typical day, and although the travelling times can be long it is very satisfying to see the incredible impact you can have on family life by doing something very simple. The key to our work is tailoring what we do to what each family needs – that is why it works so well.”

Both Debbie and Sophie are looking forward to helping more families across Cumbria and are currently working hard with referrers in the community such as the Community Nursing Teams, CLIC Sargent, hospitals and hospices. Rainbow Trust also accepts self-referrals.

As Wendy Thompson said:

“It is wonderful that we now have the capacity to provide assistance to more families across Cumbria. Debbie and Sophie are ready to provide much needed help to families with a seriously ill child and alleviate some of the pressure and feelings of isolation. If you know of a family that would benefit from a Rainbow Trust Family Support Worker please contact the North West Care Team at the local office in Lancaster on 01372 220 095.”