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Getting kinship carers on the national agenda

Act Build Change's transformative organising training with kinship carers

Stephanie Wong | 09 Mar 2023

An image of people holding signs saying "value our love" outside Westminster.

Image credit: Kinship Care.

When we took action in Parliament we did everything that day the training has taught us. We have got the expertise. When those MPs walked out the door they knew who Kinship carers were and what we want to see change.

— Kinship carer 2023

From April 2022- March 2023, we worked with Kinship to secure life-changing victories for kinship carers - all caring for children when their parents can’t. 

Our work started with supporting a Kinship organiser to grow and train the leadership of two core teams in Newcastle and Middlesbrough. The success of their work evolved into a national movement with carers across England training in a bespoke Organising Academy designed and delivered by Act Build Change. We also built a ‘train the trainer’ coaching element to support kinship carers to develop their teams to take action beyond the nine-month engagement.

The training covered organising, building relational action teams, coaching methods, trauma-informed campaign strategy and storytelling. Kinship carers took action in Parliament, sharing stories and bringing solutions to Westminster. In the build-up to the long-anticipated Care Review, every MP in England and Wales had been contacted by at least one kinship carer with asks to transform their lives and the lives of their families.

In February 2023, due to the graft and grit of kinship leaders and Kinship’s power, the government agreed to create the first-ever care strategy dedicated to kinship carers. Individuals in the programme shared how, for the first time, they realised they did not need to disclose their whole lives to be worthy of action or to be taken seriously. Kinship carers spoke about finding other stories in their lives centred on love, belonging, family, and struggle. Ice creams and laughter were as much part of our training as were strategy and tactics. It was an honour to play a small role in this powerhouse of a kinship movement and work alongside Kinship, the organisation.