Married couple visit Redbridge school to show pupils what a ‘normal’ family is like

Charity Explore said young people are just as likely to grow up with one or neither parents as they

Charity Explore said young people are just as likely to grow up with one or neither parents as they are with two. Picture: Ellena Cruse - Credit: Archant

A charity which sent a married couple to a Redbridge school to show pupils what it is like to live in a “normal” home with two adults who are in a long-term committed relationship is hoping to raise money to vist even more schools in the borough.

Explore said young people are just as likely to grow up with one or neither parent as they are with two.

It said it is little wonder that many teenagers today do not “believe or dare to hope they could one day meet the right person” or fall in love for a lifetime.

To remedy this, Explore volunteers, such as couple Rob and Lydia, headed to Palmer Academy, Aldborough Road South, Seven Kings, to share their experiences of “the old ball and chain” and show that love can triumph.

“It’s a life skill to know how to love someone and to know what a healthy relationship looks like. “ said Lydia.

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“You can see from the kids faces that they’re excited to have the opportunity to ask questions and hear about someone’s life - they love it when they see something real.

“It gives them invaluable information - I wish that I could have had something like this from Explore.”

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The children are encouraged to ask the couple questions about the pros and cons of long-term relationships, enabling them to consider what is “normal” in a loving and authentic adult relationship.

The workshops are not just run in Redbridge but have also taken place at schools in neighbouring borough Havering.

Lisa Gagliani MBE, chief executive of Explore, said: “Students have told us how much they value the opportunity to have these conversations, and that it helps them to understand that relationships can last, even if what they have experienced with their own parents was different.

“We believe family breakdown is causing a great deal of anxiety and other acute youth mental health issues.

“Our workshops help set a new framework about relationships and develops a sense of trust, commitment and the constant need for communication - skills which can be learnt, practised and reap benefits not just in romantic relationships but in all relationships - including peer to peer, client, customer and boss.”

Explore wants to bring its workshops to even more schools, but to do so it needs to raise £9,000.

It is hoping to raise the money via its Hearts & Minds campaign which runs until Tuesday, December 4.

Every donation made will be doubled, thanks to its participation in the Big Give Christmas Challenge which is the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign.


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