A children's charity which has just launched a West Cumbrian branch has clinched a national award.

Safe Families for Children, which expanded into the area in October thanks to funding from the county council and The Big Lottery, has won a Centre for Social Justice award for its work.

The prize, which was presented this week, includes a £10,000 grant and promotion of the organisation’s vital work before an audience of influential politicians, journalists and philanthropists.

Safe Families for Children launched in the North East in 2013, starting in the North East, and works hand-in-hand with children’s services, linking isolated families with a network of local volunteers who can offer support and connect them into their community.

Kat Osborn, chief executive officer of Safe Families, said: “Safe Families are honoured to have been nominated to win this award alongside such inspirational charities.

"At Safe Families we believe that every child deserves to thrive and that the best place for them to experience that is in their own family.

“This award recognises the passion and dedication of our 4,000 volunteers who have come alongside isolated families; providing relationships that bring hope and enabling children to feel safe and happy in a connected and supported home.”

Andy Cook, chief executive of the CSJ, added: “Safe Families works with local community organisations such as churches and individual volunteers to relieve the pressures on families that may cause them to break apart.

"Breakdown has long-term and irreversible effects particularly on the children, as well as their parents.

“CSJ research has repeatedly shown that if children are not brought up in stable homes, they suffer across the board.

“The CSJ recognises Safe Families’ compassion, generosity and efficiency in helping families to rediscover hope.

"Above all, those who work on the ground in often unforgiving situations deserve immense gratitude.”