September 2020

Families First News

Local area news

North Herts and Stevenage Bulletin

Updated September 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 and please put "Newsletter update" in the subject box, thank you.

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

Herts Mind Network

The Wellbeing Centre in Letchworth will be opening up from Wednesday 9th September.

We will be open for ‘appointment only’ sessions from 0900 – Midday every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Due to current government guidelines we are unable to run any groups from our centre but I am looking to hold them weekly in the community from the end of September and once I have dates/times finalised I will send them out to both clients and organisations.

To see information about our services, please see and Details of the Peer Support can be found here .

We are currently providing many free support services;

  • Peer Support – 8/12 sessions over the phone/in centre
  • Wellbeing support- 8 sessions over the phone
  • Counselling- up to 10 sessions over the phone. There is a charge for counselling £20 or £40 but is means tested against client income.
  • Peer Mentoring – up to 6 sessions over the phone
  • Crisis helpline- anyone who is struggling is welcome to phone this number- 01923 256391
  • Online groups and activities including all of our meeting places, yoga, music and LGBTQ+ groups
  • Young people’s helpline 01923 256391  - Opening hours are Mon, Weds ,Fri -13:00-16:30, Tues and Thurs -17:00 -19:00 and Saturday 10:00-13:00
  • Young people’s online hangout and Care leavers meeting place
  • HAFLS online wellbeing through learning.

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

Stevenage Centre Plans to Reopen

Plans are well underway to reopen our Stevenage centre in September. We are currently putting in safety measures to enable social distancing for staff and clients, and, if possible, we will be reopening from September 9th.

We will continue to hold online group sessions for people who cannot access our Stevenage centre in person and we’ll be reinstating face-to-face sessions gradually – we won’t rush to reopen without listening to the wishes and concerns of the people who need us.

We will learn from how well Stevenage reopening works, before we continue with our plans to open our other centres. The foremost importance is safety and as Covid-19 is still with us, we must be cautious and careful, as we slowly come out of lockdown. At any time, our plans may change depending on government advice and local lockdown restrictions. Please bear with us as we try to navigate through this.

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  Please sign up to received your updates via our website.

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.

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

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 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 -

YC Hertfordshire support for young people


YC Hertfordshire Services for Young People youth work projects in young people’s centres will be resuming in September 2020.

Throughout the summer, in addition to continuing many of our online group work sessions and one-to-one support via phone and email, our youth workers are providing street-based youth work and are delivering the Positive Alternatives Programme outdoors across Hertfordshire.

YC Hertfordshire Access Points have now re-opened. Get opening times and full details of your local Access Point here: YC Hertfordshire Access Points

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 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.

The Intensive Family Support Team (Stevenage & North Herts) have been facilitating The Freedom Programme since 2018.

During this time we have successfully completed 4 programmes and have supported many female Domestic Violence survivors, within a course setting or on a 1:1 basis.

Recently we have had to adapt our work and practise to include virtual sessions and as we like to be as interactive as possible within our groups, we asked the woman to be creative and describe their perfect partner.

Please visit our "Difference we're making page" to  read a poem created by a parent who completed the programme.


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