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Barnardo’s offers support to families facing difficulties during second national lockdown

CHILDREN’s charity Barnardo’s is encouraging children and families worried about the impact of a second national lockdown to contact two new services set up to help those struggling to cope.

See, Hear, Respond can provide practical and therapeutic support including counselling for any family in Wales while a new UK-wide helpline is also available for children from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Sarah Crawley, Director of Barnardo’s Cymru, said: “We are very aware that large numbers of children, young people and families struggled through the first lockdown and the restrictions that have been imposed in many parts of Wales since then.

“The thought of another lockdown will be very daunting for some and lead to increased anxiety and stress, isolation and loneliness. Young carers and families with disabled children face their own challenges while others may be grieving for lost loved ones or have financial worries caused by the loss of income.

“Our two new services have been set up specifically to support those who are struggling, to help them through this difficult time before they reach crisis point. Anyone can self-refer by phone or by filling in a form on our microsites.”

Both services are being funded through the National Emergencies Trust, which was set up by the Charity Commission to respond to domestic emergencies. The funds have been pledged by the insurance and long-term savings industry. The UK helpline is receiving £900,000 while £600,000 will be shared by the See, Hear, Respond services for families in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland until the end of May next year.

The launch of the services follows the success of See, Hear, Respond in England where it was launched during the summer and funded by the Department for Education.

The main concerns that have emerged have been child mental health, returning to school and loneliness and isolation. The See, Hear, Respond digital hub has had more than 127,000 visits from people accessing advice.

The national helpline for Black, Asian and minority ethnic children will tackle the particularly complex issues facing those communities. Therapeutic support will also be offered where needed. Gerald Oppenheim, Deputy Chair, National Emergencies Trust, said:

“This pandemic has had far-reaching impacts on family life, from bereavement through to financial challenges. Helplines offer a real lifeline for children and young people who often can’t access support through other routes.”

The services will provide a mix of signposting support and advice alongside online or telephone therapeutic support including counselling. The aim is to improve families’ resilience and emotional and mental wellbeing, strengthen relationships and help them with any necessary lifestyle changes. Families will be signposted to specialist or statutory services if there are significant mental health or safeguarding concerns.

They can self-refer online or through a telephone helpline available from noon until 7pm, Monday to Friday, or be referred by professionals. Barnardo’s will work closely with schools and colleges, local authorities, healthcare professionals and other vital services involved in protecting children to identify families in need of support. The microsite includes an inquiry form and self-help information along with links to local services which support families with issues such as emotional wellbeing, bereavement, domestic abuse and financial worries.

Families in Wales can now contact See, Hear, Respond on 0800 157 7015 or visit https://www.barnardos.org.uk/see-hear-respond-net The helpline for children from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds is 0800 151 2605 or visit https://helpline.barnardos.org.uk

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