A community group has been handed £41,000 by the Steve Morgan Foundation to support their work with families working through separation.
Bee Wirral is a Community Interest Company (CIC) founded in 2013, to bring a sense of community to Birkenhead.
The organisation was originally called Birkenhead Early Excellence, which is where the name ‘Bee’ originates.
Bee Wirral started with just three volunteers and has grown to employ 22 staff, working across five sites, including two not-for-profit cafes.
Director Donna Golding said, “We found residents using our service wanted support and were reluctant to engage with mainstream services. People were worried about getting their family involved with social services.
She said the problems of isolation and mental health escalated during Covid 19 and are continuing during the cost of living crisis.
Before COVID-19, Bee Wirral welcomed 13,500 people through its doors each year, dropping only slightly to 11,500 during the pandemic.
“We’re a lifeline to a lot of people,” said Golding. “Some people using our services say they’d be dead without Bee.”
The director said they approached the Steve Morgan Foundation for help in funding a child contact officer to provide supervision and coordination services for families separated through relationship breakdown.
“This enables a non-resident parent to maintain access to their child or children,” explained Golding. “People feel like they’re at their wits’ end when adult relationships breakdown.
“Bee Wirral provide a safe space to see your child, this supports parent and child attachments. We have formed good contacts with court services.”
In particular, they work with an organisation called McKenzie Friends (MF), which supports a parent going to court to gain child access. MF fulfils many of the roles of a solicitor.
After being awarded £41,000 over three years by the Steve Morgan Foundation, Bee Wirral recruited a child contact coordinator, offering more than 14 hours of supervised contact time each week.
“We couldn’t have done this without support of the Steve Morgan Foundation,” said Golding. “We’re so grateful.”
Liam Eaglestone, CEO of the Steve Morgan Foundation, said, “Family breakdowns are hugely traumatic for everyone involved. The funding we’ve provided to Bee Wirral will enable them to provide much-needed supervision services for estranged families.”