Skip to content

Business & Economy

New support service launched in Sunderland to help families reconnect

A social sciences lecturer and researcher from the University of Sunderland is using her entrepreneurial drive to help individuals and families access financial and support services.

After working with the North East BIC, Dr Angela Wilcock has set up the Family Advisory Service as a community interest company (CiC), providing advice to vulnerable people across Sunderland.

Angela founded the enterprise after helping a family friend regain contact with his daughter. She witnessed first-hand just how little support was available and wanted to provide a more accessible alternative to engaging legal professionals.

After guiding her friend through the entire legal process and being successful in reconnection the man with his daughter, Angela was inspired to set up her own company to help other in similar circumstances.

She said: “After finding out that a family friend had been stopped from contacting his daughter, I got in touch and met him for a coffee to hear more about what he was going through.

“After seeking out support from other organisations, we were surprised to find that there was nowhere that offered the service he required and so, with my expertise as a lecturer and researcher, I helped guide him through the entire process.

“That was what inspired me to explore the idea of setting up my own non-for-profit organisation to help others in similar circumstances.

“After taking time out from work and realising my passion was in front-line service provision, I approached the BIC and pitched my idea to them.”

Working with the BIC, Angela met numerous times with social enterprise advisers Ernest Dodds and Kevin Marquis who guided her through the process of setting up a non-for-profit organisation.

Kevin said: “It has been great working with Angela to launch the Family Advisory Service and we’re proud to have been able to support her on her journey.”

The aim of the Family Advisory Service is to promote strong, positive family ties and help families overcome conflict and promote social cohesion, giving families emotional and mental stability and contributing towards a fairer, happier society.