Megan's story

A difficult pregnancy, the death of her aunt, and her best friend’s suicide following a battle with post-natal depression took their toll on Megan’s mental health.

In desperation she took an overdose. It was a cry for help. She was referred to Red Hen for one-to-one family support with Maria.

Calum's Story

Single dad Calum had been in his new job for just two weeks when the Covid-19 crisis began. His employer was forced to close and he lost his full-time salary. Suddenly the only money he had to support himself and his son was Universal Credit.

Overnight, the cost of a supermarket shop became a challenge.


Louise's Story

Louise first came across Red Hen when she spotted an advert for our Cooking On A Budget course on social media and signed up. It was the start of her getting outreach support from us.

Louise said: “I feel I’m a stronger, more capable mother because of Red Hen.

Sarah and Tim's Story

Sarah has two children, and met the Red Hen Project when her youngest son Tim was struggling in infant school. Recently single, she was moved into a new house, trying to reduce the impact on her children, and facing struggles that were hard to explain.   Tim was exhibiting stressed behaviours at school. Sarah was isolated, apparently resistant to offers of support, saying she was “overwhelmed” by simple tasks like phone calls.


Gemma and Ceiran's Story

Gemma and Ceiran had been struggling financially since ill health forced Ceiran to retire from the police force in 2018. By the beginning of 2020 they could no longer keep up repayments on their shared ownership home and had made the difficult decision to sell it. They had a buyer ready. Then Covid-19 hit.

The house sale went on hold, Gemma was put on furlough, and Ceiran was forced to shield at home during lockdown. Ceiran became very ill, with two stays in hospital, leaving Gemma at home with their three young children.

Peter's Story

 ‘At school, Peter was finding very difficult to settle in, his behaviour was very challenging: ‘Peter was refusing to do simple tasks, even when tasks were explained via an interpreter and with the help of visuals aids. He was also hurting children by hitting them and running away, which was unsafe.’ Peter’s Teacher Assistant

‘Maria helped me a lot, she gave me great advice and helped me with housing difficulties. The housing issues were impacting on our well-being and Maria was able to help with the Home Link application. Maria listened to me, she valued me, and she cared about my family and our ongoing issues. Maria gave me hope. Maria was warm and kind and she made me feel good about myself again.Kasia

‘Peter is now keen to learn and he is happier in school. Peter’s mother feels more confident as a parent, she has put into practice the suggestions given by the Red Hen Project and this had good outcomes.’ Peter’s Teacher Assistant


Alex's Story

Maria supported Alex with health appointments regarding his poor diet, eczema and asthma. The family was able to access specialist health support and with the professional recommendations, the family felt more confident, by knowing what to do to better support Alex’s needs. Maria got the health visitor involved to support the family with potty training and breastfeeding issues. Alex’s mother explained: ‘Thanks to Maria I was able to receive immediate support from the health visitor, Maria kindly volunteer to help with interpreting at these visits.’ 

The school nursery teachers worked closely with the Red Hen, so communication was regular and positive between parents and school, without misunderstandings. ‘Alex has made a massive amount of progress this year, considering where his development levels were when he arrived (he wasn’t toilet trained and struggled to separate from mum). He now is at age appropriate level in all areas of the curriculum and he has lots of friends. Alex is kind and helpful – he has a lovely nature. Thanks for the help’.  School’s SENCo.


Katie's Story

Katie felt that she would not be able to continue caring for her middle child and hoped his father would take him. Katie said “I felt crazy and my son was failing at school and I couldn’t do anything about it, I couldn’t even go to school for the meetings about his learning without crying and having panic attacks”.

Working with the project Katie was able to get good bedtime routines in place, manage her children’s behaviour better, was able to go to her GP and get appropriate support for her depression and then things started to improve.

Katie said “I have had great support from Red Hen and things have changed for the better and I feel stronger and more independent.”

Victor's Story

 ‘Our family was very stressed and stuck! We couldn’t communicate with our son. Victor wouldn’t talk about his day at school, his problems and his feelings. School was also finding it difficult to help Victor because he wouldn’t share with adults what was upsetting him and getting him angry.’ 

‘Maria helped me to communicate better with my son, in a calm manner and she helped me understanding Victor’s needs better. Maria encouraged us to spend more time together as a family.’

‘Now we enjoy playing games together. Victor helps me with housework and he is more calm and understanding. I feel happy that Victor can regulate his emotions better, that he talks to me about his day and how things are going at school.’

Tanya's story

Tanya is a Red Hen Trustee; having engaged with the project for many years, and benefiting from Red Hen support for her and her family.

Tanya speaks proudly about her involvement with the project, and the impact it has had on her life; ‘All thanks to the Red Hen Project; without their help and support, I don’t know where I’d be or what would’ve happened to my family.’ She is pleased to be part of an organisation which is democratic and co-produced by the community.

‘My youngest child is at school and coping better with her medical condition, home life has improved so much. I’m also doing loads better, getting the help and support I need.’

Tanya explains that the relationship she has developed with Red Hen has motivated her to stay involved and share her experiences with peers.

‘The Red Hen Project workers listened to me, talked to me, and together we came up with ways to improve things. Slowly but surely things improved.’

Riley’s story

Riley’s parents always knew that there was something different about Riley, but it was at the age of 8 that they were able to find out some answers! Riley had regular big outbursts with simple little things, and the family was not sure how to support him best. He had a very rigid diet and he was extremely reluctant to try new foods. At school, he found it difficult to follow instructions out of his normal routine and his teacher had to break down tasks into small steps. Maria was able to support Riley and his family’s relationship with school.

“Maria suggested different ways to help Riley recognise his feelings and how to cope with them. She also gave us new ways to encourage him to try and eat new textures and tastes. She visited us every two weeks and we felt well supported. Riley looked forward to her visits”.


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