Chapter 1 dinner raises £2500
12 APR 2011
On Saturday 2 April Chapter 1 rolled out the red carpet to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Little House family contact centre in Exeter. The event brought together the cream of the legal profession at Exeter Golf and Country Club to enjoy a cocktail reception, three course dinner, and dancing to the music of Funk54.
The Little House has been providing an impartial, supportive and safe environment for children from separated families to have contact with their parents and siblings since 2001. Today around 45 families and 80 children are registered to use the service, each visiting the centre about once fortnight. With no statutory funding, the centre is heavily dependent on local grants and fundraising events, in order to keep their charges reasonable.
Matthew McCarthy, one of those grateful parents, spoke at Saturday’s dinner. He said: ‘When my ex-partner and I split up, I went for 18 months without seeing my little daughter. Then my solicitor recommended the contact centre. They were brilliant. My daughter was a bit nervous with me at first, so they made sure that she had someone there to reassure her. Now we see each other twice a week, and she can come to my home. If it weren’t for the contact centre we wouldn’t be where we are now.’
Rachel Sanders, Chapter 1’s operations director, praised the centre: ‘This is a proud day for Chapter 1. Not only are we celebrating the achievements of the past ten years, but this event also gives us the opportunity to thank our wonderful staff and our many supporters. At a time when everyone is having to tighten their belts, the generosity and goodwill of the people here tonight is heartening.’
Jenny Potter, Chapter 1’s project manager for the contact centre, added: ‘We’ve been overwhelmed by the response for this year’s dinner. It’s particularly gratifying to see so many members of the legal profession and representatives of CAFCASS* here as they refer many of our families to us. We’d also like to thank all the local businesses who gave prizes for the auction and raffle, and everyone who placed bids and bought tickets. The money we’ve raised will make a big difference to the families who use the Little House.’
[* Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service]
The Little House is a Chapter 1 project which provides an impartial, supportive and safe environment for children from separated families to have contact with their parents, siblings or other important people in their lives.
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