THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury is to become patron of a North-East charity.

Justin Welby has given his support to Safe Families for Children (SFFC), which supports families in crisis.

Founded in the UK by motor magnate Sir Peter Vardy, the group helps mostly Christian volunteers provide safe, temporary homes for youngsters whose families have run into trouble.

In its first few months, it has helped 100 vulnerable North-East families.

Archbishop Welby, formerly Bishop of Durham, said: “Encouragement and help from supportive friends can make such a difference to parents and children in challenging times.

“I’m very pleased to have been asked to become patron of Safe Families for Children as they extend their work to help volunteers and churches provide that essential support for families in crisis.”

Durham-based Sir Peter said: “As the leader of the Church of England, Archbishop Justin’s involvement in SFFC represents a significant endorsement of our work and will be of enormous encouragement to the many hundreds of volunteers who are already opening up their homes and their hearts to support the most vulnerable members of our society.”

SFFC was founded in Chicago, USA, in 2002. It plans to expand across the UK in coming years.