Support for Families during the Coronavirus
We at Bradfields Academy recognise that this is a worrying and stressful time for our families. We would like to thank all of our families for supporting the government directive of keeping students safe in the family home whilst we provide child care for the children of those families who are designated as Critical Workers and have to send their children in for this work to continue.
We appreciate that there is a Government Directive to stay indoors apart from the most essential trips out and this can cause additional stress and worry for families. With this in mind the Wider Pastoral Team have been gathering detail of support that is available to families should the need arise.
There are also details about how to contact members of our therapy team should the need arise.
The topic covered are:
- Social Stories around School Closures and Covid-19
- Tips for Parents/Carers from Dragonfly Education
- Bradfields Therapy Service
- Medway Foodbank - For families who are struggling to afford food, proof of financial difficulties will need to be provided, the following are charities which may be able to support. Foodbank times, day and locations are available from www.medwayfoodbank.org.uk/locations
- 2nd Chance Support Charity – Food aid project where food is available at a lower price. www.mrs.plus This is located in Chatham. Telephone number 01634 408840 / 01634 403340
- Citizens Advice Bureau - Tel: 01634 383760 - www.medwayadvice.org.uk
- Stepchange – Tel: 0800 1381111 - www.stepchange.org/debt-info/coronavirus-affecting-finances.aspx
- Christians Against Poverty - Tel: 0800 3280006 - www.capdebthelp.org
- All Saints Community Project Trust – 01634 845419
- GOV.UK website is being regularly updated with regards to benefits that may be available to those affected with the Coronavirus. www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-support
- MORTGAGES - Contact your mortgage lender to negotiate a payment holiday, if you are unable to afford to pay due to impact of coronavirus.
- ACAS – You can check your rights to sick pay if you get coronavirus on this website. This provides free advice for employees and employers. www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
Advice available from the following:
- Citizens Advice - www.medwayadvice.org.uk
- Step Change - www.stepchange.org/debt-info/coronavirus-affecting-finances.aspx
- All Saints Community Project Trust -Tel: 01634 845419
- Pre-Payment Meter - If you cannot top up your prepayment meter tell your supplier immediately. Suppliers contact details are on their website or your bill. Individual energy suppliers are managing this in different ways but help is available. Tell your supplier if you cannot afford to pay for any extra energy you are using because you are having to stay at home. This includes if you are ill with coronavirus or following stay at home guidance. If you have run out of credit and need gas or electricity urgently then contact your supplier to ask for temporary extra credit. You will need to pay this back when you next top up.
- Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Resources - Download PDF
- Family Action – Helpline for families under pressure www.family-action.org.uk - Tel: 0808 8026666
- Kent Autistic Trust – Family Support - Tel: 405168
- National Autistic Society – Tel: 0808 8004104
- Social story regarding coronavirus -www.autism.org.uk/services/helplines/coronavirus.aspx
- Medway Carers – Tel: 0300 303 1555 - www.carersfirst.org.uk/medway - Parent / Carer Telephone Surgeries are available, check out website for details
- Crisis Team – Text service for those feeling depressed and needing to talk - text: 741741
- MIND – Mental Health - https://www.mind.org.uk/
- Challenging Behaviour Foundation - www.challengingbehaviour.org.uk
- Medway Safeguarding Partnership - https://www.medway.gov.uk/mscb/info/5/mscb-1/65/mscb
- Children’s guide to coronavirus - Download PDF
- NSPCC Information and Advice - The NSPCC has created a new webpage with information and advice for Parents or Carers who are worried a child or young person may be struggling with their mental health or has anxiety about Coronavirus. The webpage includes information on: talking about feelings and worries; keeping in touch and balancing screen time; ways to create structure and routine; and helping to give children a sense of control. Read more information and advice on the links below:
In times like these, we can often forget how important it is to try and maintain our own happiness and wellbeing. It’s not only important for ourselves, but also our family, friends, colleagues and many of those who depend on us. Staying positive and trying to implement little things like physical exercise, a healthy diet or getting a good night’s sleep, can have big results. We hope to help everyone to think about some of the positive steps they can take to establish and keep good mental wellbeing. That why we will be sending out weekly Wellbeing Wednesday emails which will be linked to each of Mind’s Five Ways to Wellbeing – Connect, Be active, Take notice, Learn, and Give. Please find below the PDFs the resources.
- Wellbeing - Week One - Connect - Download PDF
- Wellbeing- Week Two - Be Active - Download PDF
- Active Coping Calendar - Download Calendar.
Below are some further resources to help families with their wellbeing:
- COVID19 – Staying Mentally Well - Click here for the website - which walks you through simple steps you can take to try to look after your emotional wellbeing.
- Simple Self-Soothe Strategies - Click here for the website – which introduces you to five simple strategies for relaxation and self-soothing which can be used by adults or children.
Below are some links to social stories to help explain what is happening at the moment in the UK, with the coronavirus pandemic.
- Lewisham Virtual School - Autism: Understanding School Closures - Download PDF
- Mindheart - Coronavirus Slides for Children - Download PDF
- ASERT - Coronavirus Social Story - Download PDF
- Carold Gray - Coronavirus Social Story - Download PDF
- The Autism Educator Social Story - Download PDF
- Dave the Dog Coronavirus Book - Download PDF
Tips for Parents & Carers
Some ideas and support for those self-isolating
What can you try?
1. Set up a routine
The key here is to make it a routine – not a schedule. Be flexible, but with boundaries. That means getting up at the same times and having things that you do in a regular order…it doesn’t mean timing every second of the day with military precision! Make the routine visual, factor in free time without screens and when they’re doing schoolwork, do some of your own work/jobs/chores alongside them.
2. Try new things
Introduce them to the things you love and share stories with them – make it an opportunity to connect. Watch documentaries and nature programmes (who doesn’t love a bit of ‘Blue Planet’?!); cook together and measure out ingredients, create exercise routines together, play board games and card games, show them how you manage the household budget and divide up money to cover bills, food and other things.
3. Keep it simple
Read to them. Yes – even the older ones! It ignites a love of reading, creates a bond between you and it’s soothing and calming. Get them starting a gratitude journal, drawing or doodling and colouring – all activities that support mental health. When you are working on things together, or working side by side, begin conversations. Sitting next to someone without the requirement to make eye contact can encourage them to open up! It also helps if you share something first.
Therapeutic Services at Bradfields
We know how important the therapy services that Julie, Justine and Emma provide are. During these uncertain times Julie and Justine are making regular contact with the students that are usually seen. They will also be providing materials for the students to use.
They wanted families to know that they are available for anybody who would like to touch base, have a chat or need additional advice. There contact details are:
- Julie Burton - Play Therapy: email@example.com
- Justine Staley: firstname.lastname@example.org
This invitation is extended to all families and not just those of students currently accessing the therapy services.