Covid19 Special Edition

Families First News

The latest news

Good News Stories and Feedback

We have received so many good news stories and feedback on the great work that has been taking place across the county, here is just a snippet of the good work taking place and feedback received:-

      News from the Intensive Family Support Team in St Albans & Dacorum:

      We have continued to provide practical support for many of the families we are working with. One example of the importance of this is a mother who was trying to get some baby milk, she didn’t drive and had walked to several local shops who had all sold out. She was feeling quite worried about what to do and who to turn to and so when we spoke to her and found out the situation we were able to source this, order and deliver it to her.

      We are also trying to support the local foodbanks who are doing an amazing job. In particular, one of our local foodbanks has found a large amount of their normal volunteers are unable to support in the local hubs in the normal manner due to their own health risks and were therefore concerned about how they would manage to maintain this, 2 IFST staff members have therefore volunteered to attend on a weekly basis for a few hours one day a week to support one of these hubs to remain open and hand out food directly to members of the local community who need it. By doing this, we have been seeing first-hand how vital these services are to so many people and hearing many stories of both the difficulties of the current situation but also the amazing ways people are coming together to support one another.

      We have worked together as a team to create activity packs from some of the resources we had in the office and some small purchases from our family budget. These included simple equipment such as colouring pens/crayons, paper and activity sheets, some craft materials, some reading books, a scrap book or exercise book to write or journal in, a cookie baking mix, as well as an information pack for parents with some useful information we had collated such as strategies to help manage children’s anxieties and emotions, a children’s information booklet on covid-19, helpful contact details, and ideas of simple activities they can male or do together with the equipment provided.

      The feedback and thanks we have received from these families regarding this has been incredibly humbling and it already appears to have made a significant difference to the lives of the children in those families who it appears are already feeling more motivated to engage with school & other positive activities and more connected again to their peers and the families are reporting a significant improvement in the children’s behaviours and emotional wellbeing as a result.

      Child: “When’s our pack coming mummy?” (Mum reported excitement had been building as they awaited delivery) when it was delivered and child opened it they exclaimed “Wow- this is so good mummy”

      Mum: “ I just want to thank you all so much-it is amazing.  You don’t know what a difference this has made…The book about corona virus-and what to say to the children is amazing…It has really helped-knowing just what to say…When I clap on Thursday night I’m thinking of you and your team, along with all the others-you are doing an amazing job. I can’t thank you enough

      News from the Intensive Family Support Team in Watford & Three Rivers

      We had received generous donations of Easter eggs last month from Tesco’s, Three Rivers District Council and Watford Community Housing for our Easter fun day and these treats were welcomed by many of our families last week in addition.  We’ve been working alongside our local Foodbanks and supporting each other to get food out to those in need, including some self-isolating adults.  We were extremely lucky to have a generous donation from a family we previously supported who provided 12 food packages which included fresh fruit and vegetables. 

      One of our workers is providing 1-1 coaching and meditation sessions for adults and young people and other workers are completing Protective Behaviour sessions with children and young people over the telephone.  Our domestic abuse champion has been providing 1-1 sessions over the phone to support victims and perpetrators too.  We have also used Linda Wigg from Safe Space Counselling to support some of our most vulnerable adults with mental health issues.   

      This week we have been busy making up activity packs with ideas for each day for parents to keep the children entertained while they are at home.  We also have a toy and book library up and running and workers are loaning out items to families on a weekly basis by taking and collecting them.  This is proving highly popular with parents who say children are bored with their own games. 

      We have contacted all schools in our double district to offer support for vulnerable families that currently do not have key workers or other support. 

      Families have been really appreciative of all our support and look forward to our visits, even if it is only at the doorstep or a wave through the window!  Phone support has been equally welcome, particularly by families that had been closed and many have thanked workers for thinking of them at this difficult time.

      News from the Intensive Family Support Team - Welwyn

      IFST Welwyn Hatfield and Hertsmere have been engaging with a number of partners in the local community, including housing, refuges, schools etc., to ensure adequate support is in place for identified vulnerable families. This has also involved supporting the local foodbanks, particularly Borehamwood Food Bank, with packing and delivering food parcels and supporting them in adding an additional day to their weekly offer, known as Pupil Premium Day. We have also teamed up with the community champion at Morrisons Welwyn Garden City to provide vulnerable families with weekly food parcels. Food parcels are collected, sorted and  and provided to families by family workers, along with quick, easy and creative recipes to help families make good use of the ingredients provided. Workers are also looking into partnership opportunities around mental health, sport etc. to help facilitate online groups for both young people and parents during this challenging time

      Just a few of the many comments received on delivery of laptops to families by the Intensive Family Support Teams:-

      • Mum “I can’t thank you enough.  You always brighten up my life.  I have three enthusiastic boys wanting to do school work on it xxx you are amazing xx” Mum also said it has made her life a lot easier as the boys can now do some work.  She said she is very thankful to whoever organised it and selected her family
      • Mum was falling over herself to say thank you. She was hugely appreciative and will use for home schooling  and linking in to resources and online activities.
      • Mum was so grateful she actually cried when I gave it to her. The family didn’t have any technology apart from 1 smart phone, so all 6 children were using mum’s phone to access the internet and arguing all the time and mum was getting extremely anxious that her phone would get broken. Mum has now been able to set them all little pieces of school work and is able to monitor and manage this so much better. Mum is also now able to finish her college course that she thought she was going to have to give up on because she needed a laptop to complete and submit the work.
      • The laptop has been a huge surprise and they are all so grateful. Both children have straight away been able to access the online school learning and daughter in particular has been really focussed doing it - the family are all so pleased and grateful and wanted to pass their thanks on to the IFST team.
      • “Hello Yasmin I would like to thank you for getting us the laptop. It's going to really help all of us. The children can do their school work and we can access the internet and I can access information about safeguarding information for us. Thank you so much.”
      • “Thank you so much and the children will be doing all their school work and college work with the laptop and it be looked after a million percent.  Thank you again ”. (via worker Veronica)
      • “Before I delivered the Laptop to the A family I installed Chrome and set up a link on the desktop to the website for both children to access their school homework site – Classwork.
      • G (Mum) said she is so pleased that she can now start to complete the work ready courses that Angela Watts has sent her.
      • G said thanks from all of them as this Laptop is going to make a real difference.  Son (year 11) has sent me a message saying thank you and he is going use Classwork every day”. (via worker Fionna)
      • Many thanks for this and your excellent support - very much appreciated, Deputy Head Teacher, Woolgrove School, Special Needs Academy

      CHEXS mission is always to help and support families and the local community, so on the 1st April we delivered our 1st Foodbank collection at Holdbrook Primary school.
      Thank you so much to Broxbourne Food bank and to Holdbrook Primary for enabling local families to collect their food supplies from your school car park.
      Please watch our social media sites for more information about Foodbank collection points and how we can offer support at this difficult time.


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