My name is Deepika Makwana, but most people call me Dee. I am a single parent with two children both under the age of 18 years old.
From life experiences and bringing up young people in this society, I know it can be very challenging for most single parents. I totally understand how you all are feeling. As a single mum that works with young people that are affiliated with gangs or some kind of drug activity, it can be disheartening to see that you are unable to help your children.
But there is a way forward. I know this from my own experiences in bringing up a teenager who was deep in gang affiliation. It was very difficult, but I managed to pull my child through the peer pressure and away from the wrong crowds. This was an incredibly difficult time and I did everything in my power as mother to help and support my teenager.
It was this experience which made me realise that more families in Wandsworth needed support, advice, guidance, and a caring community who could help them through these difficult times. So in keeping Families Together I set up two projects: Keeping Families Together support project and Keeping Young People in Schools projects. Most of the referrals can be done by the parents, but we also take referrals from Children Social Services and Family Support Workers.
The overall aim of my charity is to create a community and a safe environment, in order to help young people detach themselves from gang culture, help keep them in education, and to make every effort to ensure children stay with their families when they are on Children’s Social Services.
I believe all young people need chances and their parents need support to help them move forward in a positive way. It takes a community to raise a child and I believe we are helping to really build this community in many different ways.
Senia is a Business Economist with a BA Degree with Hons. in Marketing, International Trading and Political Economy and has a Posts Graduate Certificate in Social Science.
She has initiated the setting up of Falcon Estate RA in 2006. She is a Christ Church School Governor since 2005 and has set up the school’s PTA and helped start the Secret Garden project through networking with the school, RHS and her RA.
Senia is the founder and Chair of the Women of Wandsworth and the founder and CEO of URBIS Business Consultancy.
Senia has always been involved in supporting children with disabilities and SEN. She was Chair of Wandsworth Contact a Family Steering Committee since 2007- 2017.
In 2009 She was one of the initiators who have founded a forum for families with disabled children and became Vice Chair of Positive Parent Action group, giving parents of disabled children a voice and confident advocacy for their children’s rights. Senia is a member of Great Ormond Street Trust.
Senia was a Katherine Low Settlement Trustee and a President of Battersea Rotary Club, as well as the Rotary International Assistant Governor for London. Senia worked as a London Ambassador during London Olympic games 2012 and is now an UN and Commonwealth Peace Envoy for NGO.
Pastor Ray Pountney (Chairman of the Charity)
Ray is the Senior Pastor of East Hill Baptist Church and is a qualified Church Pastor M.Div. B.Ed counsellor. Ray is available to support young people and their families through difficult times, ranging from challenges in education, through to mental health issues, grief counselling and substance abuse. Ray is responsive to those who are in need and are reaching out for help by having an open door policy that does not turn anyone away. He also runs seminars and group sessions – underpinned by Christian values – with those who are willing to engage in these further support sessions.
Reeta Minhas-Judd – Life Coach
Reeta’s one-to-one and group counselling sessions are focused on helping young people in Wandsworth to understand their thoughts, feelings and behaviour with a more positive outlook. In particular, she encourage them to focus on their own wellbeing and self-worth, and will coach them to develop coping strategies to work through negative thoughts and emotions, and guide them in order to achieve a more positive mindset. Reeta believes that ‘If you change your mindset, you can achieve anything’
Dejee Jon-Baptiste will be mentoring young people: “I chose to volunteer for Keeping Families Together because it’s all about the community, and the eye opener realisation of the intensive work they do behind the scenes. This is so impactful and creates a new element and shift in the community. For sure, this experience will also shape me into a better being with more insight & knowledge – whether that’s a set of skills or qualifications, and especially the motto ‘the highest human act is to inspire’”
Gladys is the safeguarding lead for Keeping Families Together. She covers all training requirements and obtains references for all volunteers.
Gladys ia a qualified childcare practitioner and currently works within a work-based day nursery at a hospital. Within the Keeping Families Together organisation, Gladys also helps, supports, engages and delivers training to meet the needs of our families and young people.
Bhavna- Volunteer Girls Support worker
Bhavna is volunteering for Keeping Families Together to support girls that are affected by county lines, exploitation or gangs.
She has a level 3 Health and Social care and safeguarding training, an enhanced DBS check and will be attending university to do a degree in Midwifery next year.
“From my own experience I have a clear understanding of what teenage girls go through in society and it is not easy.
I engage, support and deliver one to one support when a case comes through. I support them in building their self esteem and confidence and for them to reach their full potential.
I work alongside the volunteer safeguarding officer and director of the charity.”
Meet Lisa- Volunteer for the confidential domestic abuse support group for women, overseer of our stay and play sessions for under 5s.
Lisa grew up in the borough of Wandsworth she currently lives & works for a local charity and school in the borough.