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Kinship Care were among the winners of the Big Lottery Fund 10th Birthday competition funding of £10,000.
Kinship Care is a charitable organisation based in Derry/Londonderry that supports young people being cared for by people other than their parents, across Northern Ireland.
They used the £10,000 for their ‘Me and My Family’ project. It involved children living in kinship care in designing a beautiful storybook called ‘Kuddles goes to live with his Granny’ to help other children living in kinship care.
The children, aged four to 14, worked alongside an illustrator and storyteller in February and March this year to design the book through focus groups and one-to-one sessions.
These Kuddles themed focus groups were for all children, young people and their carers to see and hear sample stories from the publisher and to add thoughts and feelings via a story tree.
The children looked at how to develop a story about kinship care and the idea of Kuddles living with his granny. They were asked questions including how would Kuddles feel? How would his granny feel? What would Kuddles pack to take with him? Some of their feelings and thoughts were recorded and given to the publishers to develop.
Leona McMenamin from Kinship Care said: “The focus groups were very helpful and positive as they allowed all of the older children to share their own story in a way that they felt would help and support other children living in kinship care. It also acted as a positive group bonding exercise as it generated conversation about the commonalities the group members had. All of the children and young people took great pride in sharing their experiences, feelings and ideas and this will be threaded throughout the finished product. They also produced their own ‘Life Story’ books to go alongside the published book.