Koala North West given £150k to support Chester families

A charity that supports struggling families in their own home has been awarded £150,000 by the Steve Morgan Foundation to expand their service into parts of Chester.

All of Koala North West’s volunteers are parents themselves and have a deep understanding of the challenges that family life can bring.

The charity has been operating in Wirral for 22 years but has just been awarded £150,000 over three years by the Steve Morgan Foundation to develop a service in Chester following the closure of Home-Start Cheshire.

The expanded service started in the Blacon and Lache areas of Chester on 1 June and Bev Morgan, CEO of Koala North West, said it would change lives.

The charity used to be called Home-Start Wirral until April 2020 when it changed its name to Koala North West and applied to the Steve Morgan Foundation for help when Home-Start Cheshire had to close suddenly.

“We knew we had to do something because there were a lot of families who needed help,” explained Bev. “They could be isolated or single parents. We get quite a lot of referrals from families with parents struggling with their mental health, and also parents with children with complex needs.”

The only requirement is that at least one of the children in the house will be aged under 11 and parent/carers are struggling with family life and would like some support.

Bev said, “For some families our volunteers might be the only people they see in the week. We make a big difference.

“Without the support of the Steve Morgan Foundation we simply couldn’t have afforded to do it. We are very grateful.

“Getting the backing of the Steve Morgan Foundation has helped us secure other funding.”

Koala North West is looking to help 100 families in its first year.

Jane Harris, Director of Regional Grants at the Steve Morgan Foundation, said, “There’s a big need to support struggling families in parts of Chester and this three-year funding gives the charity a solid base going forward.”

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