Date published: 06 January 2021 by Jessica Homer
As the country begins a third national lockdown, Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity is continuing to provide practical and emotional support to families caring for a seriously ill child in whatever way is possible. This includes virtual support sessions for children, emotional support for parents by telephone and video calls, and the delivery of essential medicines and groceries to families’ doorsteps where necessary.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new measures in a televised address on 4 January. Children and adults who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable – which applies to many children we support – had already been told to stay at home and minimise contact with others as part of the Tier 4 guidance. This group is now being advised formally to resume shielding in all parts of the UK. Rainbow Trust Family Support Workers are helping parents to navigate through the challenges this may bring.
Rainbow Trust Family Support Workers across the country have supported 845 families over the last six months. This includes 180 newly referred families in need of our help - an average of one new family each day introduced to a Family Support Worker who is now helping them in whatever way they need most.
We will continue to adapt our support to respond to the challenges that families face, and to provide virtual tailored support - described as a lifeline by many - to take on new referrals wherever it is possible and raise awareness of issues with government and supporters to help these families through ongoing increased pressures.
Finally, I am heartened by a recent positive development which may reassure many families we support. The government's vaccine committee recently published revised recommendations which now say that carers who receive Carer’s Allowance or are the main carer of a disabled child (or disabled adult or elderly person), whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, should receive the vaccination as sixth priority group out of the initial nine groups that have been announced.
A new year generally engenders new hope and new positivity, so in these continued troubled times, I would like to reassert Rainbow Trust’s ongoing commitment to the families in our care and others in need.