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Separated parents in Jersey seek help to maintain relationships with their children

Mark Kosmider and his son. Credit: James' Ark

A Jersey charity supporting families through separation says they are overwhelmed with demand, after more parents come to their service, reaching out for help.

James' Ark is run by two fathers, who are on a mission to help parents stay in their children's lives and avoid parental alienation or parent-child relationship breakdowns. 

In particular, the charity works to lower instances of fatherless homes by intervening early after family separation and working to reduce conflict. 

Mark Kosmider from the charity says the organisation supports families in a variety of different ways: 

"It could be a mother that comes to us and says look there's conflict but I do want the father to maintain contact with the children - can you help us facilitate that?

"So that could be in the form of supported handovers where we wait, usually in a public environment, for the mother to approach with the children.

"We then hold the children for a bit for a couple of minutes while the mother leaves and the father comes along.

"We also do supported contacts, we run wellbeing workshops with fathers and mothers. We work with parents, the prison, lawyers, JAFCAS, Centrepoint - anyone that comes to us, we will help them."

 

Mark tells Channel 103 that more and more people are presenting to the service, requiring support:

"Demand is outstripping our resources significantly now - we have a caseload so far this year of 80+ clients and growing, both mothers and fathers. To put that into context, last year we forecast helping 75 fathers but we ended up helping 103.

"The caseload is huge and it's only growing - we try to help everyone that comes to us but I need to increase my hours and my colleague works 60 to 70-hour weeks."

Credit: James' ArkMark Kosmider and his son

Mark uses his own experiences of struggling to be a part of his child's life - to help other parents in the same position: 

"I wish that there had been a James' Ark when I was going through the family court. When I went through this, I was just bewildered and like a deer in headlights and it took me years after becoming alienated from my son to come to terms with it.

"Over the years, it's just given me that passion to help people. Mine is an extremely negative experience but I can use that in a positive way for other parents in Jersey. 

"As long as we can help people, we can learn from our own mistakes, pass that experience onto others and help them navigate those tricky waters a bit better."

Credit: James' Ark Mark Kosmider (left) and Glynn Monet (right)

Mark Kosmider and his friend Glynn Monet are hosting a fitness fundraiser to raise money for the charity. 

The two men will do 100 laps of flipping a 60kg tyre 10 metres; it's expected to take at least 10 hours on 4 May.

Mark and Glynn are asking people to donate if they can, or send them messages of support. 

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