Victoria Brittain: A Beacon of Happiness
"I have worked closely with several families who were receiving help from Hhugs during 2009, and I have seen how invaluable the contact has been for them.
Many families have received financial assistance for their children which has made an important difference to children suffering depression and confusion with the loss of the father to prison. Families who have received school fee assistance have been enormously grateful for being able to place their children in Islamic schools which were much more able to cater to their special needs coming from their family vulnerability.
Hhugs family days out have been a beacon of happiness for many children and mothers.
Most important too has been the effort to drive families to visit fathers in prison, thereby avoiding stressful long journeys by train, which leave mothers and children tired and tense for the much anticipated visit.
In some special cases of urgent family crisis such as the birth of a new baby in a Control Order family, Hhugs has organised a rota of meal deliveries to the family, allowing the mother a brief respite from a heavy load of shopping and cooking.
For a group of volunteers, all with their own considerable family responsibilities, to have been able to maintain contacts, advise on many family problems, from bullying in school, to meetings with council officials to request re-housing, has been a feat the organisation can be proud of.
Many of these families are isolated, afraid, and have found Hhugs volunteers the only resource of strength and kindness in a very harsh environment."
Victoria Brittain, Former associate foreign editor of the Guardian. Co-author with Moazzam Begg of his book Enemy Combatant. Her previous books include Hidden Lives, Hidden Deaths and Death of Dignity.