Family Love Stories

2020 Podcasts recorded especially for #MyFamilyWeek

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Feel free to listen and share with your networks. Family Love Stories is an inspiring and thought-provoking listen about modern family life. It also provides informed free professional development for anyone who works with children and their families across different sectors such as education, Early Years, health and social care.

LHA - FLS John

Episode 1: John Warren

John is in a blended family with his partner of two years and her two children. Together they are the primary carers of the two children 80% of the time with them seeing their biological father every other weekend. It’s a chaotic and busy household with both working and making life fit with the demands of parenting two children, both of whom have additional challenges. But it’s a fun, happy house with lots of laughter and adventures. He says, “It can be tricky, but we communicate, share our thoughts, frustrations and experiences, we always have each other’s back and it works.”

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LHA - FLS Nazma

Episode 2: Nazma Meah

Naz’s amazing family consists of herself, her husband, her two daughters and three sons. And her cat, April, who is the same age as her youngest son, seven. They are amazing because Naz was a single parent with two young boys when she remarried. “I divorced my first husband as he was not good enough for my boys and me! And then God sent an angel for me in the form of my current husband!” she says.

Against all the odds, she formed this magical family, which laughs, cries, fights and celebrates together. In all weathers and all circumstances.

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LHA - FLS Elliot

Episode 3: Elliott Rae

The Rae family is Elliott and Soneni (dad and mum), Eleni, and Jesse, their five-month-old puppy and newest addition to the family! They love to have fun and dance – you'll often find them in their living room dancing to Afrobeats and South African House or singing along to some Reggae. They also like to eat and love a home-cooked meal or sampling one of their local restaurants. Dad is the founder of parenting and lifestyle platform for men, MusicFootballFatherhood. Mum and Dad are both musical and were in a band together 10 years ago! Eleni has taken on those musical influences and loves to make up songs. Eleni has just started school and is living her best life! As for Jesse, he likes to run around and cause mayhem in between sleeping, eating and rolling on his back.

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LHA - FLS Garry

Episode 4: Garry Ratcliffe

Garry and Kyle are two (gay) dads who have four awesome kids, all of whom have been adopted.

Garry is the CEO of a Multi-Academy Trust, running three primary schools in North Kent. Kyle is the head of a children’s charity called Curly’s Legacy, which provides memory-making holidays for vulnerable families as well as a farm school for disadvantaged children.

Haydn (17) has cerebral palsy and is a full-time wheelchair user. He is a computer genius, or so he thinks! Bella (13) is a diva living with Downs Syndrome. Curtis (9), aka Curly, is medically vulnerable and lights up any room he enters with his big smile. Phoebe (8) loves horses, sparkly dresses and slime and is the chattiest person they know!

As a family, they go on adventures, enjoy spending time together and with others, and never, ever let their disabilities get in the way of living life to the full.

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LHA - FLS VV

Episode 5: VV Brown

VV’s family is husband Dan, and Effie-Grace, born 2015, and Josephine, born in 2018.

They are a vibrant family – always on the go, embracing mess and wild fun and are deeply passionate about creativity and cultural discovery throughout their daily lives.

They renovated their house into their grand design dream in 2019 as a testament to their children that you can build anything and make it what you will. “It’s wonderful to live family life surrounded by this value of creativity and will in your bricks and mortar. Family life is a real, present, magical, unpredictable and fiercely intense wheel of love and we wouldn’t change a thing,” she says.

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LHA - FLS Sarah

Episode 6: Sarah Clarke

Sarah Clarke grew up an indoorsy child, the eldest of four sisters, in north London and now lives in Northumberland with her outdoorsy husband Jonny and their two-year-old twins Scout and Kipling. They spend a lot of time on beautiful, mostly deserted, Northumbrian beaches and she’s starting to think that perhaps the outdoors is quite nice after all. Sarah is still very close to her three younger sisters who she would describe as her best friends; they talk every day on WhatsApp and meet whenever they can, although with two living at the other end of the country and one in Zimbabwe it’s a lot less frequent than they’d like.

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LHA - FLS Immy

Episode 7: Immy Gunputh

Immy lives with her husband, Alvin, and her daughter, Ava, who will soon be three. During the week, she and Alvin work full time and they rely heavily on their parents to help look after Ava. Ava loves to spend time with her grandparents and Immy and Alvin notice that she learns new skills with them. Ava also goes to the nursery where Immy works two days a week. Weekends are their family time where it is just the three of them. They like to go out for walks and explore their surroundings. They also like to take Ava swimming and to the park. Most recently, they went on their first family holiday where it was just the three of them, “This made us appreciate our family so much more. It’s the little things that count with us and we want to make special memories all together”, she says.

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LHA - FLS Andy

Episode 8: Andy Szebeni

Ffion and Laszlo were three and four when their mother died in 2016, and the last thing on Andy’s mind was what sort of family life they might have in years to come. After a year of being a single parent, he realised he was ready to move forward and within another year he and Esther had brought their families together. Some years earlier, she became a single parent following divorce and now her 10 and 11-year-olds are wonderful “siblings” for Ffion and Laszlo and they are proud to call themselves a successful blended family.

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LHA - FLS Wendy

Episode 9: Wendy Turner

Wendy is a grandmother who is bringing up two of her five lovely grandchildren. The eldest is Callum, who is almost 14 and who has lived with her since he was just 20 months old. His sister, Willow, who is 8, was placed with her when she was born in 2012. They all live with Wendy’s husband, Grandad Len, and their Jack Russell dog, Ben. This is their "kinship care" family.

LHA - FLS Leon

Episode 10: Leon Wenham

Leon is a 41-year-old single adopter living in London. He adopted his beautiful son in April 2019 after two decades of wanting to be a father. He always knew he was going to be a single dad and fully embraced it. He says, “My son is amazing; he’s funny, always happy, very affectionate and extremely articulate for his age. Everyone who knows me well says it’s the perfect match. It can be very intense at times being a one-man band but I wouldn’t change it for the world."

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LHA - FLS Serlina

Episode 11: Serlina Boyd

The Boyd family are Darren and Serlina, who have been married for 10 years and have been together for more than 18 years. They have two beautiful children: Faith is seven and Solomon is three years old. They love to spend time every morning praying and singing songs. They are Christians so their morning devotions really help set the tone for the rest of the day.

The children love this time especially when they perform their songs to Darren and Serlina and talk about what they want to do for the day. Faith is home schooled and enjoys her online classes and Solomon is entertained during the day. Darren (Daddy) works as a photographer. Serlina is a publisher (Cocoa Girl and Cocoa Boy), and is also busy writing books.

They have a fun time as a family, and get to spend lots of time together, which they enjoy. The children love to laugh and are crazy about board games and enjoy baking.

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LHA - FLS Nikki

Episode 12: Nikki Hughes

Mum (Nikki), Dad (Michael) and their three sons (Malakye, Jayden, Nikolai) are a Romani family from South London, UK. Nikki is a Disability and Autistic rights activist and Michael is Nikki and the children’s full-time carer. Nikki, Jayden and Nikolai are all Autistic. Nikki also has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, is hearing impaired and partially sighted. As a family they deal with the intersectionality of being Romani and disabled. In their daily lives they overcome the struggles and obstacles they face with regard to their ethnicity and disability..

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