Supporting Families During COVID-19
Bridge House is a women’s refuge that houses up to 7 families at any one time. With schools and nurseries closed and access to activities and outdoor spaces limited, the lock down is particularly challenging for the women and children at Bridge. We asked Amanda, our Building Blocks play worker, to talk about what she has been doing to help.
I am providing each family staying at Bridge with a weekly activity pack. In this pack there are educational activities, arts and crafts, stories, fun games and toys.
Children who aren’t school age yet are being given packs containing toy packs, toys, musical instruments and stories. When they return their packs at the start of the following week I give them a new one to help them stay engaged with their play.
Primary school aged children are being provided with packs that include Maths and English worksheets, arts and craft activities, printable games and a story book, with activities based around that week’s story.
Packs for secondary school aged children include a mixture of educational worksheets, including Maths, English and Science, and fun activities. I have been including printable games to do as a family and fun and creative arts and crafts.
Each child has been given a booklet titled ‘My 2020 Covid-19 Time Capsule’ to fill in either by themselves or with the help of their parents.
I have had to cancel one-to-one and group sessions in line with social distancing guidelines. However, Bridge House has a playroom and I have opened it up for the children to access. I’ve also provided the families with jigsaws and board games and allowed the families access to the arts and craft cupboard so that can use what they need to keep busy and creative.
Thanks to grants Action Homeless has received from Crisis and the Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation, I have been able to order some arts and crafts activities, such as decorating t-shirts and bird feeders. I am hoping to get some outdoor toys and activities for the garden to keep the children entertained and families engaged in time together through this difficult period we are experiencing.
I am regularly asking families how the children are getting on with the packs I have provided them, what they enjoyed and asking them what sort of activities they would like to do.
Building Blocks is a Children in Need funded project for very young children affected by homelessness. It offers play groups, family trips and parenting support for families with children aged 0-4 years who have been affected by homelessness.