About Us

The story behind Family Gateway

Since 2011 Family Gateway (formerly Tyne Gateway) has been supporting whole families who are living in poverty or disadvantage and struggling to bring up their children on very little money. Following on from the successful Child Poverty Unit Innovation pilot we have enhanced and developed our Barefoot Professional model that employs local parents who have experienced and overcome the same or similar issues as those we support and trains them to offer bespoke packages of whole family support to deliver sustainable change in their own communities across North Tyneside, south Tyneside and South East Northumberland. Our aim is to improve life chances for children however children aren’t generally the key factor so we achieve our outcomes by building resilience and stability in the family home working with the whole family through issues including:

  • Long term unemployment
  • Severe debt and financial distress
  • Addiction
  • Domestic abuse
  • Poor school attendance
  • Ill-health
  • Poor housing conditions
  • Child neglect

We work alongside the range of professional services that are there to help families, but that often don’t have the capacity to work with them or have so far failed to encourage them to accept support. The families we help are often referred to as ‘hard to reach’, meaning that they do not easily engage with professional services through fear or stigma and are therefore often missing that professional help they need; we can either offer that whole package of support or we can often be the ‘bridge’ to more specialist services. Information about our range of programmes is available here.

What do we do

Because our staff live in the same communities in which they work, and have experienced the same or similar issues as families that need help, our most important ingredient is our ability to engage a family and build trust.

We work with the family to offer practical and intensive support to improve their situation, showing them what to do and empowering them to develop the confidence and skills to address issues themselves over time.
We assess the whole family’s needs and work with them to prioritise the areas that need to be addressed. We support the whole family to acknowledge and accept the issues that are holding them back and impacting their children’s life chances
We are committed to ensuring improvements are sustained and the whole family are fully empowered to maintain their new skills and behaviours so that their children are safe, cared for, healthy and happy. We often recruit parents who have made significant changes to our accredited volunteer programme and in some cases go on to employ them to be trained to help others.
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