Westminster Befriend a Family



Every Second Counts…


In 2001 I was admitted to hospital: a black man, turning white, throwing up in green, and later hallucinating in orange. 

Hitting the rewind button <<

Day 1
I had eaten a lukewarm beef pie the day before and was feeling a growing stomach discomfort.

Day 2
Amidst the stomach pain and perspiration, I was woken in the night by the most intense pain I had felt in my life.  I assumed the foetal position and suddenly felt a massive explosion in my stomach.  I cried out accordingly. *(*UIIIIIIIIIHAAArrrhhhhhhhhh…ow!

Day 3
In a typical bloke’ish way, I assessed the situation, put it down to a bad experience, and was ready to move on – no more beef pies for me then!

Day 4
I wasn’t in pain but was feeling weak, uncomfortable. At 9pm I started to throw up – in green.  I began to really panic. Unable to get through to my GP, I contacted NHS Direct who after hearing my symptoms told me to call an ambulance – IMMEDIATELY!

Five hours later, I was lying in a hospital corridor on a trolley waiting to be examined by a doctor – who had just put on ‘the old Marigold Gloves.’ It turned out that my appendix had burst and my woeful assessment of the symptoms could have led to my early demise. The toxins that were in my appendix had infected my abdomen: I had peritonitis (the cause of my colourful regurgitate) and could so easily have died.

Just like an inflamed appendix a lot of the problems that are responsible for breaking families up, lie beneath the surface and are only brought to light when they display symptoms. If they are wrongly diagnosed, ignored, or left to chance, the inflamed situation may explode leaving behind fatalities.

When bad things happen to us, if there is no one around to help us understand or help us through the situation we try to make sense of it ourselves. If we misread the situation or are preconditioned with an inaccurate assessment of our situation, or of ourselves, we can make wrong decisions that can have painful or life-changing circumstances.

At Westminster Befriend a Family we put on our ‘marigold gloves’ and attend to those who are shunted into one of life’s corridors. We help families that are going through stressful and often debilitating situations: homelessness, abuse, depression, and poverty.

For those who are in desperate need and unable to help themselves – Every Second Counts…

Please support us by making a text donation.

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100% of your donation will be used to keep our Family Services running.

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Thank you

Nat Cato
Communications Team


For more information: www.befriendafamily.co.uk/every-second-counts/

Every Second Counts is a campaign run by Westminster Befriend a Family (WBAF) to raise funds to provide practical help and support to disadvantaged families in Westminster who are unable to cope with the debilitating problems they are going through.

WBAF director wins community leadership award

Our charity’s director, Jacqueline Crooks, has won Westminster City Council’s Living City award for leadership in community services. Jacqueline beat 100 nominees for the award, which recognised her “unstinting commitment to raising money, training volunteers and using her leadership skills to arrange help for so many isolated families”.

Westminster City Council announced the six winners of the awards on January 20. The ceremony, held at Paddington Academy, was attended by community leaders, representatives from the council, the police and the NHS. Those honoured each received £500 to help them to continue to develop their work.

Jacqueline said: “I am delighted to receive the award in recognition of our dedicated volunteers who support some of the most vulnerable families in our community. It is a pleasure to work with such a talented group of volunteers.”

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, who helped to present the awards, said: “Westminster’s Living City awards are a great initiative that encompass what the Big Society is all about – giving power back to local people so that they can make a difference.”

Cllr Steve Summers, Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for community services, said: “Never has it been as important for the community to come together, to work with, and for one another, so that our city can prosper. This is what those nominated do every day. We rely on these community champions who are willing to go that extra mile to help those around them.

“In many cases they will work extra hours, or for free. These awards are aimed at honouring these local heroes and making sure their effort does not go unnoticed and act as inspiration for us all.”

Also among the attendees was The Apprentice’s Margaret Mountford, who is also chair of governors of a Westminster School. She said: “It is great that so many people come up with ideas and devote time to bringing the community together.

“Business can also have an important role. The opportunities it provides can give people a greater sense of responsibility to the areas they work in, and a feeling of ownership and belonging.”

The awards are sponsored by NHS Westminster, Vertex, New West End Company, the City of Westminster College, Grosvenor and the Metropolitan Police.