Keep busy over half term with some activity ideas put together by our family workers.
One of our Family Workers, Sahara has devised a weekly timetable of fun activities to keep your little ones entertained and learning whilst at home. Why not try out some of the activities and let us know how you get on…
During the current crisis our family services team have been working hard to ensure that all our families have the support they need in place to be able to cope during these testing times.
Many of the families who we are speaking to are seeking reassurance and want to hear the sound of another human voice other than a family member. The families are currently concerned about being connected to people in the outside world and they are finding it difficult to get shopping and do the things they would normally do, and don’t want in any way to bring COVID-19 to their vulnerable child or young person.
At this critical time the support we are able to provide to families is more necessary than ever. Our family services team have very quickly adapted to providing a virtual service enabling this critical support to get to the people that need it.
Our team has been busy calling vulnerable families daily, helping families’ access priority shopping hours and delivery slots, arranging volunteers to pick up prescriptions and essential shopping and supplies, creating a guide of activities and things to do at home, helping families to understand the restrictions and how it affects them as well as essential emotional and well-being support.
We have also been keeping parents up to date with social stories about COVID-19 and helping older children in the household to deal with the mental stress that is affecting many of them. We have been giving parents ideas as to how to engage them to talk about their fears in a safe space as many don’t want their parents to go out to shop and feel that they have in some way brought the disease into the home. They have also been helping parents with their child’s hospital passport and signposting to the government and NHS websites. Our family support team are proving to be a familiar face that is offering help and support in this difficult time.
Here are some examples of how we have been supporting families:
Mr H is an elderly carer of his 21 year old daughter who has a severe learning disability and epilepsy. He is a single parent with no support from surrounding family or friends. His daughter does not receive any support from adult social care.
The family service team have been making daily contact with him, providing on going emotional support as well as ideas about how to keep healthy and active while at home.
He is not able to leave his daughter unattended in the home, nor is he able to take her with him as she is shielding. This has meant it has become increasingly difficult for him to leave the house. We were able to refer him for support from Westminster City Council. Unfortunately, as this was over the Easter weekend, he had yet to hear from them after one week. We contacted the council again and were able to move him to the top of the priority list, allowing him to have grocery shopping delivered the next day.
A few days later, he let us know that he needed prescriptions to be picked up for both him and his daughter but the pharmacy that they use is not operating a delivery service. We then contacted multiple organisations until we were able to find a volunteer to pick up and deliver the prescriptions on the same day.
We continue to keep in touch with him regularly through the week.
Ms D is a single parent of a 3 year old with autism. The family service made contact with her after a referral from a local speech and language therapist.
Ms D had been unable to leave the house since the new government guidelines were put in place, as her son’s behaviour is very difficult to control out in the community. He is not able to understand social distancing rules, nor is he able to wait in the long queues for the supermarkets.
She has only recently moved to the area and therefore does not have a local support network. She was becoming increasingly concerned over how to access food supplies and activities to keep her son engaged in the home.
The family worker sent her a document with a list of local support organisations, as well as a document with a list of activities that can be done in the home to keep her son engaged and learning.
We also referred her details to the council, to put her in contact with a volunteer who can help her with getting the essentials she needs without having to leave the house.
We continue to check in with her once a week, making sure she is able to access any support she needs.
Alexandra our Portage worker has been doing Skype and WhatsApp video sessions with her families. These sessions are proving to be really useful and helpful to families. She is combining PECS (a picture communication system), Portage and is finding on line resources to support the families learning together with their child. Some parents were initially sceptical about how these sessions would help them but now they really look forward to their weekly session with Alexandra as it is contact with the world outside their home and gives them ideas to help their child learn.
One particular family has a baby boy of 8 months with Down’s syndrome and when Alexandra first met them, he was unable to sit up to play unaided. Alexandra has been helping him with sensory integration exercises such as balloon kicking so that he is able to interact with his environment; and this has helped to develop his muscle tone. She has also been working on getting him to sit between his parents’ legs and to roll a ball to his mother/father, which has helped develop his backwards and forwards motion. He has become more active and engaged, is now able to keep eye contact and is responding more to his parents. Alexandra is working on his mobility and engagement and his parents are really pleased with how far he has come and the progress he is continuing to make.
In 2019, Access Self Storage Harrow collected more than 200 Easter Eggs for Children’s Charity the Log Cabin
Can the team and the community beat this egg record this Easter for Kids Can Achieve?
The annual Access Self Storage Harrow charity Easter Egg Appeal is now open! Anyone wishing to take part can donate a chocolate egg to local charity Kids Can Achieve by popping into Access Self Storage Harrow on Neptune Road. All chocolate eggs will be stored and given to the children supported by this great local charity in time for Easter.
Access Self Storage Ealing is also collecting Easter Eggs for their nominated local charity, Kids Can Achieve (KCA), which provides services for children and young people with learning disabilities aged five to 25, including those with physical disabilities, autism, complex communication, and behavioural needs.
Kids Can Achieve, supporting children with learning disabilities and behavioural needs in the Harrow community.
Emma Russell from Kids Can Achieve said: “We are so pleased to be nominated for this year’s Access Self Storage Easter appeal, these chocolate eggs will put a smile on the faces of the children and young people we support. We thank everyone who gets involved, these eggs will bring so much happiness to the children receiving them!”
Access Self Storage Harrow manager Somaya Brown said: “ Kids Can Achieve is such an inspirational local charity we hope we can collect a whole 50 sq ft store room full of eggs for the children and families under their care. Our team has started to donate, and we’re really happy to put the kettle on and make a cup of tea for anyone bringing an egg who wants to stay for a chat.!”
Staff have already been making donations and people are invited to bring even more eggs into the Harrow Store on Neptune road any time before April 6th, when a delivery will be made to the charity in time for Easter.
In 2019, more than 2,000 chocolate eggs were collected by Access Self Storage and shared among 16 charities across the UK.
This year 17 Access Self Storage Stores will set aside a combined 950 ft of storage space to be filled with Chocolate Easter eggs for 17 charities across the UK.
We are really excited to announce Kids Can Achieve has been awarded funding from Postcode Community Trust to fund creative therapy and counselling sessions.
The funding of £10,800 is thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
This funding will support young people with learning disabilities to live healthier, happier and safer lives. It will give them access to therapeutic interventions which will help reduce stress related ill health, help understand how their disability affects them and provide support to cope with emotional problems. It will also build resilience and self-esteem, help prevent family breakdown, reduce suicide risk and address bullying.
This is a vital service for children with learning disabilities and their families, as there is nothing else like this on offer in the borough. NHS waiting lists for therapies and counselling are too long, with families not being seen until they are beyond crisis point.
Our project will offer creative therapy on a one to one basis which is a non-intrusive way of engaging young people. Creative therapy has a positive impact on health & well-being & will help unlock potential & build confidence through the use of drawing, painting, playing, sand tray work or talking.
“This grant will have a huge impact on children and young people with learning disabilities and their families living in Harrow, we have been offering creative therapies for a number of years and it has had far reaching impact with many families including stopping young people from committing suicide, preventing family break downs and improving family relationships. We are so pleased that the Postcode Community Trust has enabled us to carry on delivering such worthwhile support to families in need”.
Despite the rain we had a fantastic day on Sunday 22nd September at our family fun day. A big Thank you to everyone who attended, volunteered, donated money and prizes. We raised an amazing £1700!
We had lots of stalls and games including hook a duck, splat the rat, tombola, cakes, glitter tattoos, BBQ, pottery decorating, face painting, books, sand art and a bouncy castle kindly sponsored by Charter House Accountants.
We are looking forward to our 2020 Family Fun Day which is planned for the 5th September 2020.
A team of volunteers from our local Marks & Spencer in Pinner took on the challenge to renovate the art room at our centre. Marks & Spencer Pinner have chosen us as their charity of the year for the last 2 years and have helped fundraise and donated much needed funds.
On the 11th and 12th July a team of volunteers from M&S took on the task of revamping the art room at KCA; they got stuck in and worked hard painting and redecorating the room with calming blue colours on the walls and colourful and imaginative stickers surrounding the walls; as well as purchasing a cabinet full of art materials.
Ilias Kostalas, Service Manager at KCA commented that ‘the team have really worked hard and we are really happy with the result, the children will love the new art room; art is a great way for the children with learning disabilities we support to be able to express themselves and it will make such a difference to them. We are so grateful for all the hard work and support from M&S Pinner, we cannot thank them enough.’
The team of volunteers said that ‘We are delighted to be helping out and giving something back to our community’.