Helping a vulnerable family

Carol talks about her experience helping a vulnerable family during lockdown, the support she provided and how this benefited both her and the family.

Helping those in need

During lockdown I continued to provide childcare for key worker children and this included school runs. At this time the schools were really quiet with very few children attending. During one particular school run a grandmother, who I knew, talked to me in depth about her 10 year old grandson whom she had custody. She was struggling with keeping him physically occupied during lockdown without his sports and energetic activities and was looking for after school care.

Her grandson Sam had a difficult start in life, his mother who was a drug addict was unable to care for him and so his grandmother acquired custody. As Sam has got older he has struggled to come to terms with the situation. Sam occassionally sees his parents at contact centres although this is never regular. His grandmother provides very well for Sam but finds the energetic activities he needs challenging. He attends mainstream school and has numerous sporting activities plus the support of a close family.

Relationships started to form

Sam joined our very small group and we spent a lot of happy hours in the local park playing tennis and later basketball, roaming in the local woods and playing hide and seek.

He became supported by my daughter, who is registered as an assistant, at weekends and she was able to take him running and out for long bike rides. His grandmother noticeably benefitted from the "break" and the active play we could provide.

The relationship with us as a family (my daughter 24 and my son 14) developed. I don't think it would have evolved without lockdown - we were all simply able to be together away from our usual routines.

The relationship with the family was so successful that my daughter went to a family wedding to support Sam.

Since lockdown has eased we are back to being a larger after school group. Sam still comes albeit less now and his sporting activities have returned so we are less needed. I miss playing hide and seek in the woods and my tennis was much improved! Lockdown gave us the space to provide a special one to one service.