Supporting families with young children

Teamwork and creativity has meant that pre-school aged children have been keep busy during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Smiling child with cooking supplies

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Early Years Team have been working with Family Action who run the borough’s nine Children’s Centres to make sure pre-school children and their families have been supported over the past four months.

From drawing competitions to online family cooking sessions, support for weaning babies onto solid foods to assisting a young mum replace her broken cooker, the teams have pulled together to make sure the support is there.

One parent has written: “I would like to express my gratitude for the tomato plant we received during the lockdown as part of a package from Family Action (that included other lovely items such as a book). My son has been greatly enjoying seeing the tomato plant grow!”

Cllr Anne Jones, cabinet member said: “It is fantastic that despite the ongoing pandemic, the Council’s early year’s team have worked closely with Family Action to make sure families with young and pre-school aged children are fully supported.

“Being a parent of young children is difficult enough in the best of circumstances, but coronavirus has thrown up new challenges for those families and it is a relief to know that there are systems in place to help.”

One of the fun things the team have arranged is a painting or drawing competition, with different age categories and voting via the Facebook page. Various activity packs have been produced, primarily for family support cases, where they can grow strawberries, create a time capsule and other activities.

Family cooking sessions where the ingredients are delivered beforehand, and baby massage groups are also being carried out online, to prevent isolation, teach new skills and encourage socialising.

But sometimes the need is more urgent and results more effective. Mandy, a young mum of three children, has been working with her family support worker to battle depression and boost her self-esteem.

Before lockdown, Mandy attended several courses, such as First Aid. Support has continued through lockdown over the phone, with the family support worker finding a nursery placement and arranging food parcels.

She said: “If it weren’t for my Family Support Worker I wouldn’t be as strong as I am now. She’s been my rock and it is so helpful to know I have her support going forward.”

For more information on Family Actions Children’s Centres please visit their Facebook page.

For trusted information about Coronavirus, please visit our information pages.

Published: 23rd July 2020

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