Marriage Care are recruiting Trustees to join us in enabling the vital relationship support services we provide to the Catholic community and beyond.

This season of change comes at a time when more research is revealing the far-reaching and devastating effects of family breakdown.

Those interested in supporting marriage and relationships, and preventing couple separation, can contact [email protected] to find out more.

Recent findings from the Centre for Social Justice have shown that children whose parents split up when they are under 18 are more than twice as likely to experience homelessness; 1.9 times more likely to experience educational underachievement and 1.8 times more likely to experience alcoholism - and these are just a few of the frightening statistics the study revealed. Broken relationships can lead to loneliness, depression, homelessness, debt and reduced life chances for children.

This is why, as the largest faith-based provider of relationship support services in England and Wales, we believe that relationship support is a matter of social justice.

Marriage Care have been supporting couples for over 70 years through providing low cost, accessible, marriage preparation and relationship counselling services and are committed to sharing the joy of the Catholic understanding of marriage and relationships in all that we do.

Last year, across the Archdiocese of Birmingham, Marriage Care volunteers helped prepare nearly 400 engaged couples for the sacrament of marriage, helping them to have the best possible start to their marriage.

We also provide professional relationship counselling through eight different venues across the region - in Stoke-on-Trent, Middlewich, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Woodley-Reading, Camberley and Headington.

Here is what our clients say about our services:

''I honestly believe it saved our relationship. Once we could see why we were arguing and were given the tools to put the theory into practice we never looked back'' - counselling client

"The biggest difference is that we actually like each other now and have lovely conversations and want to spend time together" - counselling client

"Every couple should attend one of these courses" - marriage preparation attendee

"One of the best things about the course was having the opportunity to learn more about how God's love can support us during our relationship" - marriage preparation attendee.

These comments reflect the wider feedback we get about the life-changing support couples and individuals receive from Marriage Care: 82% report a positive outcome from their counselling experience and 86% give a satisfaction rating of 80% or more for our services.

We know that our work is valuable as a preventative intervention that not only saves families the emotional trauma of breakup but also the cost to society and government: an evaluation commissioned by the Department of Education in 2014 showed that relationship counselling saves the government £11.40 for every £1 spent.

As we seek to recruit new volunteers to join us in our mission to support couples, in the good times and bad, we asked our Chair of Trustees, Kit Dollard, and fellow board-member, Dr Clare Watkins, to share their experience of volunteering with Marriage Care.

Kit Dollard - Chair of the Board of Trustees
"After 45 years in paid employment in the military, then the city, followed by property, and last of all the Church, I was looking to give back to society.

"Marriage Care specialises in marriage and relationships and promoting relationship skills, and for me it was just the vehicle that I needed.

"On the way I’ve learnt a few new skills, I’ve had a lot of fun, I’ve met some wonderful people and as a front line volunteer I’ve had the privilege to meet couples in that first phase of love, as well as helping to repair some broken relationships.

"Perhaps more importantly I have helped an organisation deliver its goals to thousands of couples each year and with the help of nearly 650 volunteers.

"For me it’s a reminder that in giving our time we always receive back more than we actually give, and that for me is surprising, humbling and it’s a privilege."

Dr Clare Watkins - Trustee
"I’ve been a Trustee for Marriage Care for about four years. It took me a bit by surprise when I was asked - I’m not a lawyer, an accountant, or senior manager, so I think at first I was worried I wouldn’t have much to contribute.

"But it became clear quite quickly that this was an organisation which valued a variety of gifts and a range of voices in the decision making processes.

"It’s been a really joyful thing to do, working with such committed people, such able people with skills that I don’t have, but all the time feeling what little things I do bring are valued.

"And it’s just such a great honour to be part of a board that really serves such a remarkable group, and a large group, of volunteers who give of their time and of their wisdom so generously."

To find out more about the role of Trustee and other voluntary opportunities with Marriage Care please email [email protected] or visit the Marriage Care website