Get Involved

Saturday Activity Club Join us for FUN every Saturday afternoon from 3.30pm to 5.30pm Read More ❯❯

Families InFocus Indulgence Days We periodically host special Indulgence Day’s for parents/carers of children with special needs. Alternative therapists provide a range of treatments and a buffet lunch is provided.

Our Helpline

Call us on 01245 353575 Monday – Friday: 10am – 4pm (24 hour answerphone). Read More ❯❯

Families InFocus (Essex) – Response to COVID-19

Families InFocus (Essex) is taking the threat posed by COVID-19 extremely seriously. The safety and well-being of our staff, volunteers, service users and their families is of paramount importance.

We have been closely monitoring the ongoing situation and will continue to follow updated advice from the UK Government.

Along with the daily government briefings, current information can be found via the following links:

NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Gov.uk https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

Protecting staff, volunteers and families:

In line with recent developments across the UK we continue to follow the Public Health England guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Raising awareness, symptoms of covid-19, following strict hygiene protocols, including, download a ’Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ poster 

Understanding and adhering to self-isolating stay at home guidance and social distancing recommendations social distancing measures and where possible following Government advice to stay at home stay at home .

Supporting staff and volunteers to work from home:

The majority of staff are now working from home and remotely. They are equipped to do so with mobile phones, laptops and access to web based contact management database (Charity Log).

They are able to work more flexibly, to help each other, particularly with areas of higher volume of demand, and to work flexible hours to fit in with their own and their clients’ personal circumstances.

 Supporting beneficiaries/service users:

We have reviewed our working practices and taken the difficult decision to stop face to face client contact.

We have also made the decision to temporarily suspend the Saturday Activity Club Play sessions, drop-ins and clinics until further notice.

However, we will continue to provide information, advice and support but this will be delivered by telephone, email and remotely e.g. skype, facetime or zoom.

Benefit forms
We will continue to provide support with forms and can do DLA/PIP/CA/Family Fund forms over the phone and remotely. Please note that we only provide support for benefit claimants up to the age of 25 years.

The following government link offers some useful information regarding benefit claims

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-support-for-employees-benefit-claimants-and-businesses

Educational issues
We will continue to provide support with educational issues.

Although schools closed on Friday 20 March, there are exceptions for children of key workers, vulnerable children with social workers and children with an EHCP.  Schools are keen to maintain provision for children that fall into this category.  Please check with your school if your child does not yet have an EHCP but are known to be experiencing difficulties which could worsen without routine or structure. Your school should have been in contact with you regarding provision for your child.

The government has produced further guidance on this;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

In the guidance it states that schools are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Caring for Vulnerable children and young adults online information resources and support
We realise that during the Coronavirus pandemic, many of parents/carers will have worries and concerns for caring for vulnerable children and young adults, there are lots of online resources and organisations that provide support and information;

Carers UK – https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/coronavirus-covid-19
Mind – https://www.mind.org.uk/
The Samaritanshttps://www.samaritans.org/
Wellchild – https://www.wellchild.org.uk/2020/03/11/covid-19-information-for-parents-and-carers/
National Autistic Society– https://www.autism.org.uk/services/nas-schools/vanguard/news/2020/march/coronavirus-(covid-19)-advice.aspx
Mencap – https://www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/health/coronavirus
Place2Be – https://www.place2be.org.uk/about-us/news-and-blogs/2020/march/coronavirus-information-for-children/
Young Minds – https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/  
Covibook – https://www.mindheart.co/descargables
Amaze – https://amazesussex.org.uk/faqs-about-the-coronavirus-for-parent-carers-of-children-with-send-brighton-hove/

Maintaining contact with Families InFocus (Essex)
We can be contacted through a variety of ways and our telephone helpline and helpline email continue to run as usual for both new and existing service users. Please see below contact information:

Helpline phone: 01245 353 575
Helpline email: helpline@familiesinfocusessex.org.uk
Website: www.familiesinfocusessex.org.uk
This has important contact information for our team of Family Support Advisers.
Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/FamiliesInFocusEssex/

Our parent advisers will be happy to book in a phone appointment with any family who needs more in depth support at this time. We will also be looking at providing remote clinics on a variety of subjects, more information on this to follow.

We will continue to share information and knowhow via our Facebook page – linking with local and national charities in order to keep our service users informed and up-to-date where possible.  Please like and review the information on our Facebook page and share our posts within your networks. Also, if you are able to share any information to our Facebook page, please direct message (DM to our Facebook page) or email our helpline at helpline@familiesinfocusessex.org.uk

During these unprecedented times, we understand the pressures of looking after vulnerable children/Young people is challenging, worrying and can be highly emotional.   When routines are disrupted and we all adjust to current government legislation on social distancing and lockdown, we understand that emotions will be heightened. We want to reassure you that we are here to listen, advise and support you.

Please take care, stay safe and stay well.

27 March 2020

LINKS TO OTHER USEFUL GUIDES/DOCUMENTS/INFORMATION

The purpose of the Local Offer is to enable parents and young people to see more clearly what services are available for children with special educational needs and disabilities in their area, and how to access them. The Local Offer will include provision from birth to 25 across education, health and social care.

SEND Reforms via Mencap
Mencap have recently produced 2 easy read guides to the SEND Reforms, which are endorsed by Edward Timpson MP (Minister for Children & Families), and are now available on Mencap’s website.

SNAP Directory
Special Needs And Parents – is an Essex charity for families with children and young people who have any special need or disability. The online Directory provides a comprehensive guide to useful contacts to point you in the right direction.

SEND Code of practice: 0 to 25 years
Statutory guidance which explains the duties of local authorities, health bodies, schools and colleges to provide for those with special educational needs under part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014.