Families First News

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Covid-19 edition

Dear Partners and colleagues,

Whilst our services are all adapting and working differently we want to ensure we stay in touch with our partners and continue to share some of the key information that is being sent our way  We will continue to update and add to this special Covid19 edition of the Families First News which we hope you will find valuable.

Firstly, please read the Safeguarding during Covid19 information page and view the links for the key service updates and links to health, financial advice which we hope will be of use.

We have received many valuable links to key information from tips on home schooling, mindfulness and general wellbeing to keeping healthy and active.

Our grants page may also be of interest to your service, please take a look at some of the grants that are being made available during this period.

Don't forget to take a look at just a few of the many good news stories which we have been sent our way. So inspiring to hear of all the good work taking place.

The Families First service response can be viewed here and as with all group meetings, Practice Forums and partnership meetings are now cancelled until further notice. The Triage Panels are temporarily suspended and will be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Please continue to send any articles/messages that you would like disseminated to our partners to familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

Please all stay safe, stay positive and take care.

Best wishes from the Families First Development Team

The latest news

Families First Covid-19 Response Update

Families First covid-19 response update - at 21/04/2020

Here’s an overview of how our Families First services are operating during the current situation. We are still accessible via phone and email so please keep in touch!

Our Intensive Family Support Team is….

  • maintaining contact with families via video/telephone
  • undertaking home visits in instances where there are cases with safeguarding concern
  • cancelling any planned group sessions, training or events
  • accepting new referrals appropriate to the service
  • carrying out FFA over the phone/internet where possible
  • supporting families to access food banks and shopping
  • offering activity packs to families
  • contacting schools to offer support
  • updating district service directory and sharing with partners

Our Partnerships, Practice and Development Team is….

  • continuing to offer practice advice and support via video/telephone/email
  • continuing to provide EHM system support by phone and email
  • taking calls from practitioners requiring practice advice, support or guidance for open FFAs and families they are supporting
  • maintaining contact with families via telephone
  • contributing to TAF if required by video/telephone/update case notes
  • not delivering Families First Practice & EHM training and Practice Forums
  • continuing to receive and respond to Personalised Commissioning applications as they come in 

Please note:

  • The Consultation Hub is temporarily closed as of 18th March. Keyworkers of open FFA’s should seek advice from their Local Senior and Families First Coordinator. There will be an expectation that you continue to consult the Continuum of Need - March 2017 and HSCB Child Protection Procedures  and your designated safeguarding lead where you have a child protection concern. Please note – Where you are concerned that a child may be at imminent risk of significant harm, please call 999 for Police or make a Child Protection Contact Referral by either calling the Customer Service Centre on 0300 123 4043 and/or complete and submit a Child Protection Contact Referral online. The form will be located online at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/childprotection
  • Families First Helpdesk support is being provided via email only for the next few weeks and will continually review this.  Please email any registration or requests for support with EHM system to familiesfirstassessment@hertfordshire.gov.uk and copy in your local Senior Families First Coordinator.  Please include your telephone number in your email. Either a Helpdesk staff or your Local Senior and Families First Coordinator will call you back as soon as possible.

 Families First Triage will...

  • Continue to review and progress new contacts
  • Continue to signpost families to relevant services
  • Continue to provide information, advice and guidance to parents/carers and professionals
  • Are currently arranging meetings with all triage panel members to discuss most effective way of moving forward

    Other resources:

    Covid19 – Hertfordshire County Council

    Covid19 – Children’s Services Updates

    Covid 19 – Safeguarding Children

    Covid19 - Families First Response


    Where do I get the latest information?

    Service updates

    With significant disruption to many of the HCC services please visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/serviceupdates

    New Government guidance for children’s social care services

    The Government have published new guidance for local authorities and their partners to support and protect vulnerable children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. You can read the guidance here.

    Health Advice

    For general guidance and health advice, check Coronavirus – what you need to know.

    For Financial Advice


    Safeguarding during COVID-19

    The HSCP website now has a page related Safeguarding during COVID-19.   This includes updates on current services, resources for children and families and a range of links to national guidance and support including a video aimed at volunteers on safeguarding.

    You can also view the HSCP/HSAB spring 2020 newsletter here

    New Government guidance for children’s social care services

    The Government have published new guidance for local authorities and their partners to support and protect vulnerable children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. You can read the guidance here.



    Covid-19 Grants Available

    We have pulled together some of the specific Covid19 grants available, which may prove of benefit to our work with families:- 

    Herts Community Foundation have a Covid-19 grant fund which makes weekly allocations. The maximum grant has been increased from £2000 to £5000. More details can be found at https://www.hertscf.org.uk/coronavirus

    A number of Community Foundations and other organisations have launched funding programmes to assist local organisations in responding to the challenges of the Coronavirus Pandemic.  Here you can find a list of organisations and the types of funding they have made available.

    Neighbourly have launched micro-grants of up to £400, to support good causes that are helping communities affected by the new Coronavirus outbreak.
    Please click here.
    John Lewis & Waitrose have launched a £1m Community Support Fund to be distributed by Waitrose shops to local communities and a support fund to aid staff facing additional costs as a result of the pandemic. Please click here.

    Sport England: Community Emergency Fund for those who are experiencing short-term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the impact of coronavirus. Organisations can apply for grants between £300 and £10,000.To find out more click here.

    Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation: have adapted their grants programme to help Letchworth based groups and charities provide relief to the community during the COVID-19 emergency.

    Also please remember to take a look at our very useful grants page on our Families First Portal

    Links for Mental Health and General Wellbeing

    We have pulled together all the good links we have received for mental health and general wellbeing during this period.

    The new JUST TALK website provides a host of useful information to YP families and professionals during COVID 19: https://www.justtalkherts.org/news/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus.aspx

    Many of the JustTalk partner organisations have been busy creating new resources, and online training modules in response to COVID 19. Here are some highlights from this week:

    PUBLIC HEALTH - Hertfordshire Support for Families, CYP and Adults in Hertfordshire and beyond - Nutrition and Activity

    The OLLIE FOUNDATION – Online Training Schedule - includes fun, upbeat wellbeing programmes for teens, through to pandemic anxiety specific sessions and suicide prevention training for adults.

    MIND IN MID HERTS -  Spot the signs and emotional wellbeing webinar , with many additional free webinar sessions taking place – full schedule: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/hertfordshire-mind-network-26443271185

    BOUNCE FORWARD - are holding regular sessions for parents to build vital skills to help their children be more resilient during this uncertain time.  To book visit: https://bounceforward.com/raising-resilience-free-session/

    A recent letter which was sent out via Hertfordshire schools giving lots of helpful links that focus on how we can all look after our mental health and emotional wellbeing during this time. We are aware that you have already been provided with significant medical and practical advice on how to manage the virus pandemic within your setting and therefore the below links focusses on looking after mental health and emotional wellbeing.

    Download the school letter here

    In addition, below are a number of useful mindfulness apps:-


    #1 App for Mindfulness and Meditation. (Available on iOS, Android & Web)


    The relaxation app trains you on the “belly breathing” technique that has proven benefits for your overall mental health. (Available on iOS and Android)

    Stress Check by Azumio

    This app takes you on a deep breathing exercise to promote calmness and can bring your heart rate down in five minutes. The app provides instant feedback with breath and pulse monitoring and tracks long-term progress. (Available on Android)


    The Happify app is a way to make a game of all the positive psychology tricks you know might work, but make you feel kind of silly when you actually do them. You'll start by taking a quick test that assesses the areas of happiness you should work on. Then, you're presented with a few "tracks" that can help get you to your goals. (Available on iOS and Android)


    An award winning free fully moderated app for teens, which provides peer support, expert help, inbuilt educational and creative resources as well as in app links to UK charities and helplines. MeeTwo allows young people to experiment with what it feels like to open up without drawing attention to themselves while positive feedback and social support builds confidence, increases wellbeing and promotes emotional resilience. (Available on iOS and Android)


    Moment tracks how much time you spend on your phone each day. (Available on iOS)


    StepFinder pin-points your nearest local support service and shows you how to get there using your phone. It shows you tips and recommendations from other young people, so you know what to expect when you use a service for the first time. (Available on iOS)




    SAM is an application to help you understand and manage anxiety. (Available on iOS and Android)


    Daily tools for stress, anxiety, and depression alongside a supportive community. Based on cognitive behavioural therapy & mindfulness meditation. (Available on iOS, Android & Web)

    Thrive: Feel Stress Free

    When you log in it gives you different tips to help you relieve stress/anxiety. There are tabs for meditation, deep relaxation, self-hypnosis, and more. (Available on iOS and Android)


    An app designed to help manage stress and anxiety. By learning more about how and why we experience anxiety at different times and in different situations we can be less fearful. (Available on Android)


    An app designed to help teens and young adults cope with anxiety. It can help you change how you think about anxiety. (Available on iOS and Android)

    Smiling Mind

    Trying to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life? This app can help you launch into a regular practice of mindfulness meditations. (Available on iOS and Android)

    Wysa Happiness Chabot

    Wysa helps to build emotional resilience by talking to you about your situation. Over 60 psychologists and 10,000 users have provided specific inputs to shape how Wysa helps them. (Available on iOS and Android)

    I love Hue

    When you feel like you have no control, this app can help sooth you by creating simple visual harmonies from mosaic tiles. (Available on iOS and Android)

    Anxious Minds

    Anxious minds are a charity that was set up by sufferers of anxiety and depression, to provide free support to all suffers of anxiety and depression. (Available on Android)

    Worry Watch

    This journaling tool has a simple user interface where users can log instances of worry, fear, and anxiety. They can also add the outcome of each situation, which provides a comparison between expectation and reality that helps reduce anxiety over time. (Available on iOS)


    Links for Home Schooling, Learning, games etc

    We have been sent several very useful resource links which can help with home schooling, we hope you find the following links of benefit for your families:-

    Hertfordshire’s website for families of young people aged 0 - 25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has learning resources and materials to help your child at home on the Hertfordshire Local Offer

    With children and young people out of education settings, families may be needing a bit of extra help to keep their child’s education progressing, or just to keep them entertained. The Local Offer, Hertfordshire’s website for families of young people aged 0 - 25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), has a resources area where parents and families can find materials they can use to help their child learn key skills. The resources area specifically looks to support those families whose child has an additional need, but it can be used by any family, and may have certain educational activities that can help any pupil to develop a skill they may be struggling with.

    The resources area includes:

    • Activity sheets and ideas provided by the Specific Learning Difficulties team, which can help progress in key areas including writing, memory, numbers and spelling
    • Practical help for children who are struggling with their mental health, either as a result of COVID-19 or more generally
    • Help with explaining COVID-19 to younger children and young people with autism, including social stories and easy read documents
    • Materials which help young people to develop their independence, including cooking activities
    • Lots of fun ideas for your children to do independently or as a family at home to encourage them to explore and use their imagination

    Find it all at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/SENDresources and do let your families know if you feel it would benefit them.

    Parent guide for positive parenting during covid-19

    The new Triple P Guide for Positive Parenting During COVID-19 (0-12 age) can be shared with parents as a self-help tool, or used by practitioners when introducing the Principles of Positive Parenting.

    • Helps parents respond to their child’s concerns related to COVID-19, understand the importance of self-care, and use practical strategies to keep the home environment calm and predictable.
    • Written specifically for COVID-19 by Triple P founder Professor Matt Sanders and his colleague Dr Vanessa Cobham, internationally recognised expert in child and adolescent anxiety and post-traumatic mental health.
    • Now available as a FREE digital download on Triple P provider and parent websites.

    NOTE: The current guide is aimed at parents of 0-12’s, our Teen Triple P guide for positive parenting during COVID-19 is in development will be available on the Provider Network shortly

    Family Learning and Activity resources

    CHEXS have created a very useful resource for parents and carers to entertain children or young people at home over the coming weeks.

    There are educational links for learning, games and family activities to do together all organised in a simple and clear way to easily find what you are looking for.

    We have categories for:

    • Secondary aged Young People
    • Primary Children and younger
    • Games and activities for any ages
    • Awards to try
    • Internet safety videos to watch together

    Please share with your colleagues, friends and family and let CHEXS help you at this difficult time.


    Links for Keeping Active and Eating Healthy

    We have put together a few useful links which you may wish to use/share with families you are working with to help maintain a healthy diet keep active during this restrictive period:-

    Eating Healthy

    BeeZee Bodies

    The commissioned tier 2 weight management service in the county is continuing to run sessions for children (between 5-15) and their families via webinars. Families will need to sign up to the service either by referral from a professional or self-referral and will be given all the instructions once they speak to a staff member.

    Webinars are group based and offer interaction with other families, activities during the session, and the chance to ask questions. Free 1-2-1 virtual appointments with a nutritionist are available for families who have already completed the BeeZee Families service or are interested in signing up and are available on Tuesday afternoons. 

    Recipes, blog posts, healthy tips, behaviour change strategies, cooking videos, and physical activity ideas for kids and adults are all available on the BeeZee Bodies website as well as their social media pages which are updated multiple times a week. 

    BZ have started uploading some cupboard/freezer based recipes on their page and videoing them. These are very short and easy to follow too. This first one makes use of chickpeas.

    Here is the first one https://beezeebodies.com/blog/recipe-chana-masala/

    Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/beezeefamilies/

    Link for 1-2-1 bookings: https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/BZ121Clinics@beezeebodies.co.uk/bookings/

    British Dietetic Association (BDA)

    Cooking at home with children and top tips as to how to involve children at different ages. Some information provided here:




    Staying Active

    Herts Sports Partnership

    The Herts Sports and Physical Activity Partnership have been compiling lots of practical resources to help the community stay physically and mentally active at home over the last couple of weeks which we have called ‘Work Out From Home’ and is detailed here on our website https://sportinherts.org.uk/workoutfromhome/  

    This is being added to daily to try and keep recourses fresh for those using the pages.

    Also have the Hertfordshire School Games Organisers (SGOs) making the children’s page and this is titled Be HAPPY.

    Sport England - Stay In Work Out

    A movement of people around England finding new ways to get moving in and around the home, powered by Sport England. Lots of information available online for activity videos and ideas all collated by Sport England.


    Change for Life – Indoor Activities

    Get active at home – lots of ideas for children and families

    Simple recipes for families







    Partner Service Updates

    Please see service updates from HCC teams and Partners, please email familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk if you would like to include your service on this page.

    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: https://www.hertsfamilycentres.org/professionals-area/family-centre-professionals-area.aspx

    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   https://www.hertsfamilycentre.org

    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. https://www.ychertfordshire.org/support-for-young-people/support-for-young-people-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/

    We are also looking to increase our capacity of our Supporting You programme, which we feel will benefit many young people at this time: https://www.ychertfordshire.org/media/870233/084376-supporting-you_professionals-dl-leaflet_jan-19_v2_5a.pdf 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.

    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

    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

    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.

    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. 

    Janet Dalrymple, CEO of Safer Places said:

    "Safer Places provide life changing and life saving support services across Essex and Hertfordshire. Our new Live Chat service will allow us to reach more people affected by abuse and give survivors the opportunity to safely access non-judgemental support and advice. Coronavirus (COVID 19) is impacting upon us all and we are seeing a dramatic rise in the numbers of those wanting to access our services and how they wish to do so. It can be incredibly difficult to talk about abuse - and making a call can be difficult, now more than ever with abusers in the home. That's why we have worked around the clock to create our Live Chat service. Our qualified expert staff are now available by phone and live-chat every day, day and night. We want to reassure everyone in the communities that we serve that we are here for you, when you need us and how you need us, our support is led by you".

    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.

    Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service - CGL Spectrum update

    Change Grow Live are working very hard to protect our clients, particularly those who are high risk and isolating, and we’re taking steps now to minimise face-to-face contacts, provide medication and deliver harm reduction resources – this is why we did not send this email last night, as planned. Going forward, we will continue sending updates on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    I hope this is still the best way to update you all with our activities, and please do continue to send your own updates to Herts@cgl.org.uk.

    Please continue to forward this on to any colleagues or other services/ teams who would benefit from this information.

    We also have multiple resources on our website, we hope you can make use of:

    Please download and  forward this on to any colleagues or other services/ teams who would benefit from this information.

    Hertfordshire Adult & Family Learning Service (HAFLS update)

    Sadly, we have reached the situation which we desperately wanted to avoid, and until further notice we are no longer able to offer face to face tuition to our learners.

    However, HAFLS are still here for you and our team are currently working on ways to deliver virtual learning to support during this period. We will be in touch with all our learners to discuss this.

    Unfortunately, we, like everyone else, have no idea how long this pandemic may go on for, which makes it difficult to predict when the face to face courses are likely to resume.

    Our community venues are closing but the team are still working and are on hand to offer information and support.

    We are very aware that for many, our courses are a great opportunity to connect with others. If, for any reason, you find yourself struggling with your mental health, please find contact details below for some useful organisations.

    Please phone us on 01992 556194 if you wish to talk to us.

    Also, please visit our website www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/hafls to see the range of courses we are planning in the near future.

    We will be waiving the registration fee for our courses that are going to run between April and July 2020.

    Wishing you all good health - and we look forward to welcoming you back to our courses as soon as we can.

    The entire team at HAFLS


    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.

        Hertfordshire united against coronavirus

        #TeamHerts Volunteering is a countywide Hertfordshire service providing information for individuals who want to volunteer and for charities or similar organisations who are looking to recruit and manage volunteers. The countywide effort to ensure the extremely vulnerable can self-isolate for twelve weeks has seen the food pack distribution process working well and continued over the Easter weekend. We are now delivering circa 300 food parcels a day to individuals. We are also meeting bulk requests for food supplies and are delivering packs of food and essentials to Foodbanks, hostels and other agencies.

        Operation Shield is the countywide project to support the 20,000+ people in Hertfordshire that will be getting a letter from the NHS telling them to have no face-to-face contact for 12 weeks. Some of these people will not have support from family or friends and so we will be prioritising to get them food and essential medication.

        Operation Sustain aims to mobilise residents and the voluntary sector to support anyone that has been affected by coronavirus, is self-isolating and/or vulnerable but who have not received a letter from the NHS.

        • Residents, services and community groups who would like to volunteer can visit or call Herts Help on 0300 123 4044. #TeamHerts Volunteering, which includes all of the local Community Voluntary Service (CVS) hubs, is being promoted as Hertfordshire’s official volunteering network.
        • Residents who are self-isolating and in need of support from volunteers can click herevisit their webiste, email or call HertsHelp on 0300 123 4044

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