We have to date awarded £54,620 to support families with young children from our Coronavirus Response Funding.
Last year there were an estimated 38,130 children in Surrey living in households with at least one of the ‘toxic trio’ (alcohol/substance misuse, domestic abuse, mental health problems).
The term ‘toxic-trio’ refers to:
- Alcohol/substance misuse
Children in households where an adult has a drug or alcohol dependence
- Domestic abuse
Children in households where an adult has experienced violence or abuse from a partner in the last year
- Mental health problems
Children in households where an adult has a clinically diagnosable mental health condition
These have been shown to put children at notably greater risk of immediate harm as well as having a detrimental impact on their later life outcomes.
In Surrey, it is estimated that 8,820 children live in households where a parent is suffering alcohol/drug dependency, 13,590 children live in households where a parent is suffering domestic abuse and 26,730 children live in households where a parent is suffering from a severe mental health problem(s).
There are over 90,000 lone parent households in Surrey.
Children and Young People
Young people have been severely impacted by lockdown restrictions and many daily activities have been unavailable during this time. School closures have led to many young people learning from home with altered daily routines, less contact with friends and cancelled exams. Many young people have struggled to learn online and stay focused whilst feeling isolated and unable to engage in their normal avenues of support. Leisure activities that matter to young people have seen a slower ease of lockdown restrictions, with youth clubs, sports clubs, church groups, parks, skate parks and leisure facilities being some of the last facilities to reopen. Whilst the need to control the virus has understandably led to the closure of such facilities it has limited the recreational choices for young people during a time of unease, stress and anxiety. That said, in general, young people have also been able to react quickly to the ever-changing world and virtual communications that many older people have struggled to comprehend.
“The crisis will most affect those young people who are already vulnerable and disadvantaged”.
For young people who have complex home lives, Covid-19 has brought extra difficulties as they have no respite from family tensions, and these tensions themselves have been amplified by the restrictions and pressures, both social and financial brought about by Covid19. Some young people have seen much needed face to face mental health support appointments and contact with other supportive adults cancelled or changed and have needed to engage virtually. This has added potential barriers to openness, honesty and trust; all of which have needed to be overcome to allow full engagement with the young person involved.
“The abrupt closure of schools has brought about increased stresses upon children, particularly amongst year 6 students who have missed out on opportunities to say goodbye to teachers and classmates, and also not taken SATs, along with missing transition preparations and visits to prospective secondary schools. Covid-19 is likely to heighten the impact of the transition these pupils face, and lead to many Year 6 children feeling anxious and apprehensive about the here-and-now, in addition to their next chapter.” (see https://mcrmetropolis.uk/transition-years-and-the-lockdown/ for more details).
Laurence Guinness, chief executive of the Childhood Trust, advised ‘that children with special educational needs are…particularly hard-hit. For those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), for example, the loss of extra tuition and their set routines has been “catastrophic”. Some parents said their children’s development had already slipped back by as much as a year.’ (bbc.co.uk ‘Coronavirus: Children ‘developing post-traumatic stress’ from pandemic’).
What we are hearing:
Many charities are reporting to us that there has been a significant increase in demand from families with young children with need for items such as medication, nappies, baby bottles and equipment, baby milk, and toddler food being particularly sought after.
Stripey Stork is a Surrey-based organisation that distributes much-needed baby products to families with young children. They advised us:
“Last week one of our referral partners had to advise a family, down to their last few nappies, that they should use tea towels and sellotape as nappies. Fortunately, we were able to supply nappies to this family, but we know there are many families in a similar predicament. These families could not afford to stockpile; they are living hand to mouth. Stripey Stork believes that every baby deserves the same start in life, and therefore we want to continue to supply toiletries and baby necessities for local families in need.
In addition, we are aware of the many families with very few resources to entertain and educate their children who are now home full time. Therefore, we are also supplying activity packs for children.”
We are now preparing bulk crisis packages for referral partners to reduce unnecessary travel and ensure our partners have all the supplies they need.”
“As prisons look to release pregnant women we have also been contacted by a charity supporting pregnant women in prison looking for the basics these ladies will need to care for their babies.
“We anticipate that the demand for our crisis packages will only increase over the next two months.”
Home-Start East Surrey also anticipate that referral rates will be high when the country enters the recovery phase of the pandemic:
“We are aware that there has sadly been an increase in reports of incidents of domestic abuse and we believe a steady increase in requests for support will be made.
Overall Covid-19 is having a profound impact on all the communities we work with, the majority of which are in areas that are already significantly socially deprived. We expect the numerous disadvantages experienced by many of the children we see to be increased or worsened (e.g. their inability to access key stages of their education impacting their life chances in the longer term; the impact of post-natal depression upon the babies of mothers suffering with this; financial hardship impacting upon the physical and emotional health of children).
We believe that we will need to offer more and more varied support over the next 6 to 12 months as the impact of isolation and lack of access to support due to social distancing continue”.
Home-Start East Surrey are planning a number of projects to help their families get through the challenges of the next few months.
Below are the grants we have awarded locally to support families with young children.
|Charity||Project Description||Amount Awarded|
|Change of Scene||Core costs for a charity supporting disadvantaged young people to receiving training and education||£4,000|
|Home-Start East Surrey||A contribution to core costs for charity supporting disadvantaged families with young children during the Coronavirus pandemic||£5,000|
|Home-Start Elmbridge||Funding for a specialist Family Support Worker to help struggling families with parenting and mental health support amid the Coronavirus pandemic and lock-down||£5,000|
|Home-Start Guildford||Funding toward the essential running costs of an organisation, based in Guildford, that offer a home-visiting support service for targeted families with at least one child aged 6 or under, during the Covid-19 pandemic||£5,000|
|Home-Start Runnymede and Woking||A contribution to core costs to a charity supporting disadvantaged families during the Coronavirus pandemic||£5,000|
|Home-Start Spelthorne||Contribution to salary costs to enable help and support to be given to families with children under 5 via remote methods during the Covid-19 crisis||£3,000|
|Home-Start Surrey Heath||Funding toward the essential running costs of an organisation, based in Surrey Heath, that supports families with a child aged 5 or under, that are struggling to cope, during the Covid-19 pandemic||£5,000
|Home-Start Waverley||A contribution to core costs for a charity supporting families with young children facing wide-ranging difficulties during the Coronavirus pandemic||£5,000
|Oasis Childcare Centre (Oasis)||Funding toward the essential running costs of an organisation, based in Elmbridge, that offers budgeting support to families that have low incomes, during the COVID-19 pademic||£5,000|
|Spurgeons||Funding toward bulk buying of essential items, for an organisation based in Elmbridge, to enable families in poverty to have food, baby items and entertainment, during the COVID-19 pandemic||£5,000|
|St Johns School, Holmwoods, Dorking||Funding to support disadvantaged families during the Coronavirus pandemic||£2,620|
|Stripey Stork||Funding toward emergency baby supplies for a charity, based in Reigate and Banstead, that offers support for families in poverty, during the COVID-19 pandemic||£5,000|
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