Giving urgent, flexible and adaptable support during a national crisis

Angie was supporting 18 families at the onset of the pandemic, 10 of whom were classed as very high need. Here she describes how she was helping them in April 2020.

“None of the families I support have any family living nearby to help them out. I have been giving practical and emotional support to them and they are without exception anxious, confused and frightened. Most are unable to speak to their clinical teams to get advice or updates.

“Mia is a very recently bereaved parent. Within days of her child’s funeral, social distancing began, schools closed, and the community nursing team was diverted elsewhere. Mia is alone with no support network. I am calling her regularly to talk, listen and keep her spirits up. I will be putting together activity packs to keep her children entertained.

“Jade is a single parent in isolation alone with her children. One of the children has serious medical condition and is showing COVID-19 symptoms. Jade is running out of supplies so today I will go to the shop to get her essential food and cleaning items and leave them on her doorstep. I will be in regular contact by telephone with Jade who is very frightened and told me she feels as though she is having a breakdown.

“Asha recently had a heart transplant. She is classed as extremely high risk and is currently in hospital. Asha’s Mum has been there with her for five days now. They are not allowed in or out of the room and the only people they see are the nurses. Dad is at home with the other children. Mum is finding the situation very difficult, so I am calling Asha’s Mum every day and we talk for as long as she needs to.

“More generally, I’ve been securing donations of nappies and milk from local community groups set up to deal with the crisis as well as doing grocery shopping for families that are unable to leave the house. I’ve also been arranging to collect and deliver medical supplies and prescriptions for another family.

“These families desperately need our support at this time, and I feel that we are fulfilling the role of emergency mental and emotional health support at a time when the NHS and other organisations are not able to help.”

If you would like to sponsor a Family Support Worker to help them continue to provide vital support to families caring for a seriously ill child, please click here.