Here at Siblings Together, we provide a comfortable, natural and supportive place where siblings can enjoy high quality time together. This can make all the difference to their relationship, as a group of separated sisters had the chance to discover.
The separated sisters met with their parents once a month but this experience was often perceived by the girls as stressful and tense. The difficult situation with their parents meant that the girls could not focus on having fun with their sisters and were missing out on building upon that crucial sibling bond. Their social workers were finding it difficult to provide an environment where the girls could get together separately, partly due to severe conflicts between social workers and the birth parents.
When the social workers found Siblings Together, they could see we provided a perfect setting for the sisters. We combine careful procedures to ensure the safety and welfare of everyone who attends, with fun and skilled adult support in relationship building. Our building is very secure and we do not allow anyone to enter who is not part of our team. The sisters started attending one of our Monthly Activity Days (MADs) which provides a fantastic opportunity for siblings to meet up for the day, once a month, and take part in activities, play games, and go on adventures together.
Even though our building is very secure and our volunteers are very well trained, in this case there was a continuing issue with the parents constantly contacting the oldest sibling by mobile phone. This behaviour was quite controlling and intrusive to the girls and meant they could not get the best out of their day at Siblings Together. To overcome this, we asked all young people, staff and volunteers to make sure their phones were turned off or on silent. This meant the girls did not feel obliged to answer the constant phone calls and instead were able to focus on having fun with each other and everyone else at the activity day!
The MAD has now become a special place for the sisters, enabling them to share great times together. It has meant that they can share simple moments that most of us take for granted, like playing with each other’s hair and gossiping about school and college. The young ones also love gardening and watching their flowers grow with the rest of the Siblings Together team.
Building these relationships has not been a simple road. At first the girls found it a challenge to spend quality time together without arguments or conflicts. Here at Siblings Together we understand both the challenges and the fantastic bond that siblings can have. We are continuing to support the sisters’ growing relationships. Watching the older girls having their younger sisters sitting on their laps, singing songs and relaxing is very rewarding. Siblings Together will strive to continue to give all separated siblings in care the same vital opportunity to bond with their brothers and sisters.
Click here to view a PDF version of this story