Covid19 Edition 4

Families First News

The latest news

Partner Service Update

Below are updates from countywide HCC teams and Partners, please email if you would like to include your service on this page. (for local updates please visit the Local Update Pages)

Domestic Abuse Services
Family Centres
YC Hertfordshire
Health Visitors
Parenting Together Support Programme
Citizens Advice
Drug and Alcohol Services
Herts Sports Partnership
Money Advice
Mental Health Services
Gambling addiction
Families in Focus
Family Lives
Carers in Hertfordshire

Domestic Abuse Services

Across Hertfordshire, all domestic abuse services are still operating, and our top priority is to ensure victims get the support they need.

For frontline professionals and members of the public, all current services and referral routes into services remain the same. Our services have adapted the way they work to continue offering a service to victims, even during lockdown. View information on pathways


Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy (IDVA) Service

The IDVA service are continuing to offer support to all victims of domestic abuse around safety, security and well-being.  Refuges are still accepting victims into the accommodation and legal orders can still be applied for to protect victims from further abuse. 

If you have anyone needing advice and support please complete the referral form and return it to (duty) where the case will be allocated to an IDVA to provide advice and support.

The duty number is still available 0300 790 6772 which can be provided to the public to contact, this is for the Hertfordshire service (Monday to Friday 9-5)

The 24hr helpline is still available 24/7 on 0808 2000 247.


Domestic Abuse Live Chat Launched by Safer Places

Safer Places have launched a new live chat service to support those experiencing, or at risk of abuse

The new service enables anyone experiencing abuse to chat directly with a member of the Safer Places team.

The measures announced to tackle coronavirus (COVID 19) have seen day to day life change dramatically and undoubtedly made it harder for people to access support services as survivors are isolated with abusers with small windows of opportunity to speak. This new service will give survivors the opportunity to access support discreetly.

The service provides survivors with information and supports individuals to make choices about how to increase their safety, the safety of their family and make decisions about their future. Research tells us that more and more of us go online to find information and look for answers. Safer Places online chat service is available both day and night and enables those who feel safer seeking support online to chat to a qualified professional to get confidential support and advice when, where, and how they want it. 

The new service will initially be open between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday and 8pm - 8am Fri - Sun 8pm - 8am 

Our emergency line will remain open 24/7 please call 03301 025 811 for more information about how to access our services.


Family Centres : Update from Family Support Service

During these times of uncertainty, we hope that you and your teams are keeping well.

As with many services across Hertfordshire, we too have reviewed our usual ways of working to ensure the health and safety of our teams and the families we support. 

We are however continuing to offer our services to families, with some small tweaks to how the 1:1 and group support is delivered – therefore, our referral pathway remains unaffected at this time.

Some of the changes that we have made include:

  • We are now providing the support, advice and guidance through telephone and video-calling where possible.
  • A new response approach has been developed for parents who are experiencing the most challenging situations at this time.
  • We are providing digital material on our Facebook and Instagram pages for ALL families to access at a time that suits them, such as home learning ideas and activities, Story Times and Rhyme Time sessions.  Families will just need to follow our pages.
  • Some families are receiving Parenting Group support through Zoom sessions, with more planned for the future.
  • Key information such as ‘Preparing for Baby’ antenatal support and Introduction to Solids advice and guidance is still available for families to access – they can book as usual through Eventbrite and will then be provided with details to our new platform where they can access the online video links. 
  • Families who were booked on to attend face to face sessions are being contacted directly to ensure that they receive the new online information
  • Future plans include developing digital material that supports all of our emerging needs offer, such as Early Talk and Oral Health.

If you know of a family who would benefit from some support, please contact the relevant Team Leader or Manager, prior to completing the referral form to discuss the family’s needs and the support available - Phone: 0300 123 7572. Alternatively you can refer the family directly:


Health Visitors :

For families with children aged under 5 and school nurses ( for families with children aged 5-19 ) are still working. To get in touch please ring the duty line on: 0300 123 7572 Monday to Friday

The duty line is available to professionals and to families for advice and support.

Or go to the Family Centre Service website

Two great links are: Health for Kids – local health services and advice for children aged 4 to 11 years old.

Health for teens – bite-sized info and advice for 11 to 19 year olds in Hertfordshire.


YC Hertfordshire - Support for young people during the coronavirus outbreak

YC Hertfordshire Services for Young People face-to-face work is currently suspended following government rules on staying at home in order to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, but we are still supporting young people in many ways.

Young people can still get information, advice, guidance and support on a wide range of issues via phone and email. Youth Workers and Personal Advisers can help and work with young people one-to-one and in monitored online youth projects with other young people.

Services for Young People youth projects and all other face-to-face work is currently suspended, but young people can still get information, advice, guidance and support on a range of issues, including health and wellbeing and sexual health from qualified Youth Workers and Personal Advisers. For the moment this will be via phone or email.

We are also looking to increase our capacity of our Supporting You programme, which we feel will benefit many young people at this time: a referral to this programme is the same as the above.

In addition to the monitored online youth projects young people can still get information, advice, guidance and support on a wide range of issues via phone and email. Youth Workers and Personal Advisers can help and work with young people one-to-one.

  • 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.


Parenting Together Support Programme

Important changes

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents us all with huge challenges in protecting ourselves and our families.

The providers of the Parenting Together Support Programme are continuing to offer therapeutic help by switching from face-to-face therapy to video based sessions until the current emergency is over.

We've switched to online referrals only at this time

As more practitioners are working from home and supporting families via video call/telephone, the online referral form will be the version to use from now on.  For more details on this and the difference in gaining consent, please follow this link


Herts Sports Partnership

We are currently establishing a partnership with schools in each area (local to fire station) to deliver the Fit, Fed and Read project in the summer. The aim is to run as close as possible to traditional delivery as the need for FFR provision has been enervated by lockdown.


The referral process is now open at the following link:-



We're still here to help!

Click here to enter your postcode or town and find your local Citizens Advice and details of current opening hours and services.

CAB have just today launched a short access survey online ( to help us plan for future delivery.  We're keen to understand whether people's access needs have changed in light of Covid so we can plan future service delivery. 


Herts Sports Partnership

HSP are establishing a partnership with schools in each area (local to fire station) to deliver the Fit, Fed and Read project in the summer. The referral process is now live. The aim is to run as close as possible to traditional delivery as the need for FFR provision has been enervated by lockdown.

Please visit the link for more information


Drug and Alcohol Support

CGL Spectrum coronavirus response update 31-03-2020

A quick reminder that we are displaying local updates for people that use our service here: And you can still call (0800 652 3169) and email us during normal opening hours ( keep in touch!

We are continuing to…

1. Offer 1-1s, appointments and other psychosocial support over the phone.

2. Accept new referrals and assess new clients as usual (over the phone)

3. Keep our Stevenage, Hertford, Watford and Hatfield hubs open Monday- Friday for needle exchange and office working

4. Look into practical alternatives so that we can hold groups remotely

5. Work hard to deliver safe storage boxes, naloxone take-home and other harm reduction resources to our vulnerable clients

6. Work in the Lister and Watford General Hospitals

Useful resources:

  • Breaking Free Online (the access code is herts11)
  • Apps and websites to help people with drug or alcohol problems:


Resolve - Drug and alcohol Support

We hope you are all keeping safe and well during this time!

Resolve provides psychosocial drug and alcohol support for those struggling with Substance Misuse. Due to current circumstances, we are operating slightly differently to normal, however we are still offering the following support;

  • Supporting clients all over Hertfordshire from our 2 hubs in WGC and Letchworth
  • Offering online psychosocial group support 4 times a week via Zoom
  • Taking new referrals and assessing and supporting over the phone
  • Conducting 121 key work support and counselling with our trained counsellors over the phone or via Zoom


Mental Health Services

The wide range of support for people who have mental health concerns includes:

· Herts Help – a signposting and advice service which can help direct people to the right support - 0300 123 4044 or email
· Hertfordshire Mind Network crisis helpline – 01923 256 391
· NHS HPFT’s Single Point of Access - for people in a mental health crisis who live in Hertfordshire - 0300 777 0707 from 8am – 7pm, 01438 843322 out of hours or email:
· Samaritans - 116 123, 24 hours a day, every day
· The national NHS ‘Every Mind Matters’ website has expert advice and practical tips for people experiencing anxiety, low mood and sleep problems -


Healthy Young Minds in Herts

The below website has a Professionals, Schools, Parents/ Carers and Young Persons section.  The schools section requires a log in and includes key training slides, lesson plans, resources, video clips, a Mental Health Leads toolkit and information about the Whole School & College Approach to Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health kitemark accreditation which is part of our ongoing offer to all Hertfordshire schools. COVID Pages have open access please see key links below. 

The website is updated on a regular basis in the current context



Herts Mind Network

Please see the current timetable and support services for anyone struggling with their mental health.

Their free one to one Peer Support service is also operating via telephone not face to face.

They have offices in Letchworth, Borehamwood, Watford, Hemel, Waltham Cross, Bishops Stortford and Borehamwood. They offer support to anyone living in Hertfordshire.


Mind in Mid Herts Service Update

Mind in Mid Herts are pleased to announce that they are providing another set of their online ‘Living Well’ Courses. These courses equip people with the understanding and tools that they need to manage their mental health in everyday life; covering how to deal with stress, anxiety, depression and sleep. Mind in Mid Herts’ Living Well courses are FREE to use and are run on Zoom over a four week period. For more information and to book onto the courses, visit their website:

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 -


Money Advice Unit, HCC

Following recent Government guidance, unfortunately we have had to cancel all remaining face to face Money Advice Unit training in May.

If you are booked on a course in June we will be in touch to let you know if these will be going ahead.

Unfortunately we are not able to accept any further training bookings for the time being.


Families in Focus CIC

FREE Summer courses now scheduled for zoom too and even the courses that show full, we will take parents on a wait list as some may not be able to attend zoom meetings due to caring needs, no device, or unable to access virtual platforms etc.

Our courses are accredited by CANparent (certificates attached) as being evidence based and effective and we have a proven track record of delivering courses that have a positive effect on family life.

This means parents from anywhere in Herefordshire can now attend from the comfort of their own homes so do please share with parents, colleagues, schools and others who support parents across Hertfordshire.

A Complete Guide to Parenting Children with SEND course is free for all parents living in Hertfordshire and caring for primary aged children inclusive of those awaiting diagnosis or with a diagnosis of

all Special Education Needs, Autism, ADHD & Health Needs.


This course will provide parents with:

  • Greater knowledge and understanding of SEND language and acronyms
  • Greater understanding and answer the question, ‘Why does my child do that?’
  • A range of practical strategies to better manage behaviours that challenge.
  • Clearer understanding of anger triggers and strategies to reduce angry meltdowns.
  • Techniques to support siblings living with a sister/brother with additional
  • needs/challenging behaviours.
  • Communication techniques to reduce ‘emotional traffic jams’ and improve your
  • child’s emotional regulation
  • Tried and tested strategies to reduce conflict within your family
  • Understanding of the feelings & emotions of parenting children with special needs
  • Techniques to help manage family stress
  • Increased knowledge of the range of services and organisations that can support you and your family

Starting on June 4th for 10 sessions Book via Eventbrite for our online, virtual course: 

6 Tuesday evenings 6.30pm to 8.30pm: June 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th & July 7th

Book via Eventbrite:

6 Wednesday evenings 6.30pm to 8.30pm: June 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th & July 1st, 8th

Book via Eventbrite:

6 Wednesday afternoons 12pm to 2pm: June 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th & July 1st, 8th

Book via Eventbrite:



We understand that many of our service users will be worried and concerned about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Please be assured that our services are still open, and we offer both telephone support and online support for anyone affected by problem gambling.

The National Gambling Helpline is open 24 hours every day on Freephone 0808 80 20 133, or you can live chat with us.

We appreciate that these are unusual times and for some people coping with the stress of this and self-isolation may increase urges to gamble. Please contact GamCare Hertfordshire for help and support if this is the case – we are here if you need us.

All new assessments for clients into GamCare Hertfordshire will be held over the phone. We will be in touch with all current clients to arrange ongoing telephone support. If you would like to have a chat about what might work best for you, please give us a call on 0143 848 7003.

If you would like to register for online (video) treatment please click here.

Our Forum is also available throughout the day and overnight to connect you to others in similar situations so that you can seek and share support. We are also providing chatroom sessions twice a day and are planning to increase these to provide additional support.

Additionally, our GameChange course is available for those who would like to work through an online course, supported by regular contact with a GamCare therapist.

We also have more information available on blocking software and self-exclusion, plus self-help resources:


Hertfordshire Adult & Family Learning Service (HAFLS update)

With community buildings, schools and other venues shutting their doors, Hertfordshire Adult Family Learning Service and our network of partners have been busy developing an online version of our courses.

Thanks to the determination of the team, our Spring courses have been taught remotely while the Summer term of courses will also now be delivered in real-time, online, for free.

Meanwhile, our partners are not only delivering planned courses online – they have also developed some additional courses to help cope mentally in this unprecedented crisis affecting us all.

This summer, we will have a range of family courses where both the parent and child(ren) can get involved. These include;

  • Family Mindfulness
  • Family Maths Key Stage 2
  • Family English

During these 2-hour weekly online courses held across 5 weeks, the parent will be able to learn before the child is then involved in the second part of the session in a fun activity.

To access our courses, please visit us at or call us on 01992 556194. To find out more information on the courses our partners are offering, follow us on Facebook.


BorrowBox - Hertfordshire Libraries online library service!

Our libraries may be closed but our online library is still open! All Hertfordshire Library members can access BorrowBox, allowing you to listen or read our online eBook and eAudiobook catalogue for free.

We have new releases of children’s fiction, adult fiction, biographies and non-fiction titles available to download on your phone, tablet or laptop.

For more information visit about how to access our online catalogue visit:


Family Lives

Family Lives is a national support charity, providing help and advice to families who are going through a difficult time. Families contact us about all aspects of family life that include all stages of a child’s development, issues with schools and parenting/relationship support. We also respond when life becomes more complicated and provide support around family breakdown, aggression in the home, bullying, teenage risky behaviour and mental health concerns of both parents and their children. If you need support or advice, you can call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222, email us at or us at for our forum community, online advice or to register for our monthly newsletter. Follow us on social media @FamilyLives for news and updates

We are delivering free online parenting groups during Covid-19 to support parents. The groups, funded by Herts County Council, are aimed at parents of :

  • Pre Teens/Teens showing challenging behaviour and/or where there is a family first assessment, child in need or child protection plan
  • Children with ADHD

More information on the content is available here.

Our programme of groups due to start next week and our referral form are attached. Please send in password protected referrals to Parents can book directly through or by emailing

The groups will be available through MS Teams for up to 6-8 parents for 6 weeks. We are running them early afternoon and in the evening to give greater flexibility for parents to be able to attend.

Can you please circulate this information to your teams and colleagues.

Please also note that our helpline and emails services are both operating normally - 0808 800 2222,

We are currently running an online group for Hertfordshire parents / carers and I wonder if you could add this to your website

Online group - Bringing up Confident Children for Parents of Children with ADHD

Monday 15th June to 20 July 7pm – 9pm

Our programme provides support, information and resources to parents/carers and adult family members so they can help their child reach their full potential. For further details and bookings please follow this link,  Family Lives online-group Bringing up Confident Children for Parents of Children with ADHD


Carers in Hertfordshire - Young Carers Team

As a proactive response  to the COVID19 virus to ensure that young carers who need additional practical or emotional support at this time are informed and receive emotional support for their own health and wellbeing we are offering keeping in touch calls.  We have been targeting also Young Carers that are the primary carer, where there is no other adult in the family home other than the cared for. We have been making Keeping In Touch calls to these families.

Professionals can still make referrals and we are offering virtual carers assessments instead of home visits.  

Activities that we offer can be found on our website  or

Young Carers team will continue to work closely with carers and their families who are struggling at this time and need additional support from them and or other agencies.  



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