Home-Start Manchester – Coronavirus

Listen to the audio for this statement here.

Updated statement;

To our families, volunteers, referrers and other partners,

9 weeks ago, in response to Public Health England and Government advice, we ceased to provide home visiting support. In the first few weeks of lockdown, whilst our team worked incredibly hard to adapt services, our strategy for supporting families and volunteers was viewed as short-term. As the Country begins to explore what ‘coming out of the other side’ looks like, we have not rested on our laurels and our strategy now is to plan for all eventualities, be flexible to different situations and outcomes, and keep the needs of our children and families at the heart of our service.

We have recently completed consultation with our families, volunteers and staff, the outcome of which has helped to shape the support we provide both now, and in the future. There is absolutely no doubt that families really need home visiting support and volunteers are desperate to be offering it. However, we do not yet feel we are in a position to do this safely and effectively. As such, our support will remain ‘distanced’ for the time being. Volunteers and staff have received additional training and support to enable them to offer safe and impactful telephone and video support. This has included ensuring volunteers feel confident in identifying and responding to concerns, developing trust and connection with families, maintaining confidentiality and boundaries. The staff team, in emergency situations, are also delivering essential item packages.

We are also now in a position to offer this support to families on our waiting list and will continue to work closely with partner services to provide a collaborative response to meeting families’ needs.

Volunteers are also receiving support and supervision via direct contact with their Coordinator as needed, our private Facebook support group, monthly virtual drop ins and regular virtual supervision.

We are also recruiting volunteers across the City, with our next Preparation courses starting in September (face to face or virtually as appropriate).

We cannot get away from the fact that a huge piece of what makes us so successful is missing. But I have been moved by the imagination and creativity of our staff and volunteer team, and the feedback from families and volunteers has been wonderful. One thing is for sure, we continue to be absolutely committed to ensuring every child is given the best possible start in life. Childhood can’t wait, not even now.

Shelley Roberts – Chief Executive Officer

Coronavirus first statement from Home-Start Manchester;

To our families, volunteers, referrers and other partners,

Having taken advice from Public Health England and central Government we have ceased to provide home visiting support for the time being. We can assure you that our staff and volunteer team are committed to ensuring families continue to be supported in a safe way. Currently, all open families are receiving telephone and video call support up to 4 times a week at a time that works best for them. All of our staff have up to date information from Public Health England and so the advice shared with families is safely informed. We are also trying our best to source and deliver essential food and toiletry items to families in desperate need. In addition, we are developing our Facebook page so that we can interact with any family needing support with early play, learning, fitness and fun in their homes. This will be available to any family, not just those previously known to Home-Start, and will include all of the families on our waiting list. For families without access to Facebook we are sending a weekly email with all of the content and links to guidance.

Equally, we will continue to provide support and e-learning opportunities to all of our volunteers.

These are difficult times and, as a service built on human connection and relationship, we are deeply saddened that we are unable to be with our parents and children face to face. However, we have been moved by the imagination and creativity of our staff and volunteer team. We accept that we will all have to find new ways of reaching out for the next few months. We are absolutely committed to ensuring every child is given the best possible start in life. Childhood can’t wait, not even now.

Shelley Roberts – Chief Executive Officer

If you would like to support the vital work of Home-Start Manchester please consider donating via this link

http://www.facebook.com/HomeStartMCR