2018 was an amazing year for us at Grandparents Plus and we hit some amazing milestones. If you haven’t had a chance to watch our highlights video yet, you can check it out here. 2018 wasn’t without it’s challenges, but thanks to all our supporters we have grown as a team and are more united than ever in our mission to transform support for kinship carers.

As they finalise their New Year’s resolutions, I caught up with the team to find out their ambitions for Grandparents Plus for 2019.

Our Chief Executive Lucy has big goals for 2019. She wants to see "more recognition by government of the vital role kinship carers play – and a commitment to increasing support for all of them."

Programmes Coordinator Annabel says: "I want to support my colleagues to be able to reach as many kinship carers as possible."

New recruits Sue and Denise are heading up our new Kinship Active programme this year. This is an exciting step for us, with a focus on intergenerational activity to improve the health and wellbeing of kinship carers and their children. We’ve definitely picked the right people for the job:

"I hope to reach out and engage with as many kinship carers as possible in Redcar and Cleveland to help improve their fitness, health and wellbeing. I want to help improve the quality of life for carers and their children through fun activities that won’t cost an arm and a leg." - Sue

"I hope to provide as many families as possible with the chance to take part in fun activities that will help to improve their mental and physical wellbeing. I am looking forward to bringing people together, who share common experience, and I hope that the friendships that form last a very long time because people feel stronger when they are together." - Denise

One of our Advice Workers Nicola says: "I would love to see the Advice Team expand so we can reach even more kinship carers. It would be amazing if we could do outreach work."

Our Finance and Office Manager Louise, is the one who has to think about the bills. Her wish is to "raise the profile of our charity, and see more sustainability through funding."

Maeve, our Marketing and Communications Manager, is always working hard to raise our profile; "this year I want to see more carers sharing their stories, so we can achieve steps towards real and lasting change for kinship care families."

Our project workers deliver our Kinship Connected programme, and see first-hand the impact it has on carers’ lives. Their ambitions for 2019 are to continue to do this, and to reach even more carers:

"My hopes are simple: continue to secure amazing staff, to grow our team to enable us to make an impact for even more carers around the country." - Darren

"I hope to bring greater satisfaction to our carers in meeting their needs." - Johanna

"My ambitions for Grandparents Plus this year: secure funding to allow support for all Kinship Carers; grow our kinship care support groups into more areas; and increase our focus on intergenerational activities in all areas." - Ancha

Luckily our Director of Business Development and Programmes Kate, has matching ambitions for Grandparents Plus this year:

"My hope for 2019 is that more local authorities across England and Wales commission our programmes and services in order for us to support more kinship families."

Some of the team have been with Grandparents Plus for many years, and some have just joined us, but one thing is clear, we want to make life better for kinship carers.