July 2020 Edition

Families First News

Local area news

North Herts and Stevenage Bulletin

Updated May 2020

We are collating the updates we receive for the services into district bulletins. If you would like to include your service update/news for this area please email familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk and please put "Newsletter update" in the subject box, thank you.

For countywide updates, please also visit our Partner Updates page.

Local school partnership update

Stevenage local school partnership have continued to support families and schools through out the lockdown. We have provided support at child in need and Child protection virtual meetings, we have continued to attend team around the family meetings virtually and complete FFA's where needed. We have also delivered many food parcels to families in hardship supported by Sainsburys and have continued to ring and support families and school staff during this time. It is of course a very uncertain time and we have been there as a source of information and support to both families and partners going forward we are conscious that there are many families that are suffering during this time and that mental health will be very much at the forefront as a consequence.

The Living Room

Its business as usual for us at The Living Room – the only change is that the group sessions are held via ZOOM and not in person.  Group numbers are steady and for those that cannot join via the internet, we are providing telephone support, often on a daily basis.  We plan to continue with this arrangement until advised that contact restrictions are eased.

We are holding between six and nine group counselling sessions daily, facilitated by counsellors from each of our three staff teams that were originally based in Stevenage, St Albans and Watford.

While we did have to close our doors for a few weeks to new clients, our triage service is fully up and running to welcome all new clients into our service.  Please call 0300 365 0304 or complete the referral form; https://www.livingroomherts.org/referral  A dedicated triage counsellor will contact the individual and complete the initial assessment, via telephone or ZOOM.  If the client meets our criteria, they are then handed over to a key worker, who has experience and specialism in the identified addiction.  There is an expectation that all new clients will join established group counselling sessions via ZOOM.

As we are aware that some clients are experiencing increased stress on their relationships during this time, from June all of our clients will have an opportunity to join RELATE facilitated relationship sessions or 1 to 1 counselling, in addition to the daily group sessions.  Please note this opportunity is only open to clients that are attending The Living Room.

Our crèche – usually only available to Stevenage clients, has opened their vital doors to support all clients with children aged up to 12 years old.  The staff facilitated two sessions on each Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a variety of activities including craft ideas, cooking, yoga, action signing to name but a few.  This service is also provided during school holidays.

We provide regular email communications to clients and supporters via our SHOUT OUT and we put our updates on social media @LivingRoomHerts (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) and our website www.livingroomherts.org.  Please sign up to received your updates via our website.

During the first week of June we will be celebrating Volunteers Week by running a media campaign, publishing short video clips from staff, expressing the positive impact volunteers achieve during their time with us.

Home-Start Herts

At Home-Start Herts we are continuing to support families through ‘phone visiting’ this means that every family referred to us is being supported through their volunteer and/or Volunteer Manager or Group Leader. Any family that had been referred but had not had an initial visit has also been offered this service. We have also contacted families that closed over the last 6 months to check in with them.

Some families are getting on ok and appreciate a call every week to check in and have an opportunity to talk and speak to someone else. Other families are finding this very tricky and need more support so may have a call more frequently plus additional support for example art packs/books/toys/games etc.. delivered. Some families have also been engaging with food banks some where we have delivered and others where the food bank has. We have sign posted families to mental health services, food banks, financial support, Safer places and Herts Help.

We are also directing families to our website for ideas, information and opportunities to share what they are doing.

Our support with our volunteers has included phone support and regular get together’s via zoom and a weekly update of various opportunities both for themselves and to pass on to families around training and courses.

Mind in Mid Herts

We continue to take referrals and people can telephone 03303 208100 or self refer online www.mindinmidherts.org.uk

We have developed a program for social support on line. To access this service please go to our website or call 03303 208100

We have received funding that allows us to offer all our courses and workshops free of charge, people can register here https://www.mindinmidherts.org.uk/training-and-workshops/courses-workshops/living-well/ for:

  • Feeling well, to reduce feelings of depression and sadness
  • Building Courage, to manage anxiety
  • Learning to relax, coping with stress
  • Staying well at work
  • Sleep workshop

We also have free, live mindfulness sessions each day for our frontline workers and you can register if you are a carer, work in health, including pharmacies, social care, funeral directors and associated workforces that are supporting people in any way including as volunteers. Also included in this offer is the blue light services, please click on this link for more information - https://www.mindinmidherts.org.uk/home/training-support-for-front-line-workers/

YC Hertfordshire Services for Young People

Currently delivering online youth projects through Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp, to our vulnerable groups to support young people during the coronavirus outbreak. In addition to these monitored online youth projects, young people can still get one-to-one help, information, advice, guidance and support from Youth Workers and Personal Advisers via phone and email on a wide range of issues.

We are pleased to inform you that we have now launched a virtual support service via text whereby a young person can send a text with a key word and receive a personal reply from a Youth Worker or IAG team member. The attached gives further details on this service but in summary the key words are:-

  • LOCKDOWN for help with emotional wellbeing (how to cope during lockdown)
  • LGBT+
  • OPTIONS for help with options after year 11
  • CV for support with CV writing
  • Any OTHER issue

We hope this service gives young people an additional, familiar route to seek support during these unprecedented times. Please feel free to forward this email and attachment to any interested parties.

We are still able to take new referrals for young people you feel may need additional support during this time. Please click on this link to see what we currently have on offer locally, including support during the upcoming half-term holidays.


If you would like to refer a young person, the referral form can be found here https://www.ychertfordshire.org/about-yc-hertfordshire/make-a-referral/ or please reply to this e-mail.

If you would like more information on any of the support we can offer, please get in touch

YC Herts will be starting detached youth work again focusing on supporting those young people vulnerable to exploitation and becoming involved gangs.  This is an area where activity appears to have dropped during lock down but will undoubtedly emerge again in the coming months.  Here is a video of Anna Perry, Youth Worker talking about her online work with groups in North Herts over the past few weeks.

Important message below from SADA ( Stevenage Against Domestic Abuse)

We wanted to update you on the new Email Address for SADA, to replace the GCSX Email. Our New Email address for all contact and referrals is SADA@stevenage.gov.uk . In future please send all referrals to this email address. I must advise that any emails sent to the previous GCSX email will only be forwarded on for a limited amount of time, so please begin to use the new email as soon as possible. I apologise if anyone has received this email more than once and for any inconvenience this may cause.


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