About us

The Haven Project was founded by Paula Fairbrother, a social worker based in Liverpool. Over the years Paula has worked with many families where there were serious concerns about the safety and welfare of the children. Children’s welfare must always be the priority when plans and decisions are being made about a family. However, Paula also saw the devastating loss, fear and shame that many parents experienced when their children were removed from their care.

National research and government guidance clearly identify the support needs of parents in these situations as an issue which needs addressing. However the reality is that little support is currently available, either during or after court proceedings, and many parents find themselves completely on their own when the court process ends.

For Paula, experience, research and faith combined to prompt the launch of the Haven Project in 2011, as she explains:

My experience showed me that more support is desperately needed in the family courts. My faith convinces me that God’s care and compassion extends to each of us, even at the most broken times in our lives, and that none of us are beyond hope. The vision for the Haven Project is that it will be a place where compassion and hope can be shared with parents in the midst of their loss, creating the possibility of change.

The Haven Project initially conducted a small scale pilot service involving 26 parents over the course of three years. Throughout the pilot phase we consulted regularly with parents and referring professionals, using their feedback to shape the Project’s development.

At the completion of the pilot, evaluations concluded that we had developed an effective and much needed service, however our size was preventing us from offering support to all the parents who needed it. Social workers, solicitors and parents all supported our plans to expand the Haven Project and their backing enabled us to secure the additional funding we needed to allow our service to grow.

As a Project we now work intensively with up to 20 parents a year. We’re planning further expansions in the future as funding allows.

Our Team

Workers:

  • Project Manager: Paula Fairbrother; DipSW (1999), MA in Social Work Studies
  • Art Group Leader: Andi Taylor; BeCreativeArt
  • Mens Worker (sessional): Craig Martin
  • Project Worker: Vacancy
  • Volunteers: We have a small team of volunteers providing support with project administration and mentoring for parents in our Next Steps service

Trustees:

  • Genevieve Staley – BA(Hons), Youth worker, formerly Service Manager and Volunteer Co-ordinator for Barnardo’s Liverpool
  • Lynn McNaught –  CQSW (1990), MA in Public Policy and Management; Independent social worker; CAFCASS Associate; University Of York Associate Tutor.
  • John Staley – Self employed building contractor, Youth worker
  • Rev Alyson Tunstall – Curate of St Michael's, Garston

How we are funded

The Haven Project is funded through grants and donations. To date we have received grants from Garfield Weston Foundation; Steve Morgan Foundation; Anchor Foundation; Hemby Charitable Trust; Catalyst; Anne Duchess of Westminster Charity; JMF; Woodward Trust; Jackson Lees Foundation.

We are also currently supported by Wavertree Christian Fellowship, St Andrews Clubmoor and our individual donors.

We are seeking to expand our donor base and become sustainable as a charity through our 400 Friends campaign.