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Written on 11th February 2021 by Julie Marsh

This week Julie Marsh, Senior associate - solicitor in the Medical Negligence team, caught up with Tess Eagles, business development and partnership manager at Parenting Special Children (PSC). 

Last year, Boyes Turner were pleased to make a pledge to Parenting Special Children via the Big Give campaign, to help continue in their support of the charity who do such fantastic work locally to support families of children and young people with special needs. 

It was great to hear about the new work that the charity are doing as part of a family support project, and it is a testament to the great work the charity are doing that they have been overwhelmed with requests for help as part of this project. The demand has been so overwhelming that in fact the charity is currently in the process of recruiting somebody specifically to work on the family support project.

During COVID-19 and lockdown, we have all felt the challenges of being in close proximity to one another for extended periods of time, and more recently, this has been added to with the burden of home schooling for many.

The charity has seen an increase in calls to their helpline, with a lot of people looking for advice around sleep issues and anxiety which are so heightened as a result of COVID 19 and our third national lockdown. The charity are continuing to run their fantastic and popular sleep workshops, and last week, as part of Children’s Mental Health Week, ran a special event about what wellbeing might mean for children. As expected, this was a very well attended event.

The charity are continuing to look at the immediate needs of the families they support, and to try to respond to it, even in these challenging times.

A new course, commissioned by the Berkshire West NHS Clinical Commissioning Group as part of the new Berkshire West Autism and ADHD Support Service, in partnership with Autism Berkshire, is looking to offer support to 11 – 18 year olds who have been diagnosed with ADHD or autism; to help develop confidence and emotional wellbeing, topics include self esteem, knowing ourselves, developing and maintaining friendships. Unsurprisingly, the course has been oversubscribed, and the charity is extremely positive about the help that they can bring to these young people as part of this programme. 

Whilst COVID-19 has presented a number of issues in delivering their services and support, the charity has extended their reach through the use of video conferencing and other online facilities. Whilst it can be harder to interact online, some of the charities beneficiaries have reported that they are more keen to access the online course, because there is no need to attend in person and travel, given the rigors of home schooling and the full school day.

The charity also continues to work on their trauma and attachment initiatives, running support groups for kinship carers, adopters, foster carers and Dads/Male carers , workshops and courses including an Attachment focused Re-Parenting Course for Birth Parents/Families.

The charity is continually working to bring their community support groups together, and reduce the social isolation that many of the families they work with are continuing to feel. The team will be organising a bingo night, and sending Valentine packs to those members of the community groups to help remind the families that they are not alone, even at such a difficult time, and support is available.

Although Tess was keen to point out the accomplishments of the charity, she is not naïve to the fact that we have all been struggling with the intensity of work and the pressure of home schooling and are likely to feel the after effects of COVID 19 for some time still to come.

She said:

“We need to remember that when we come out of this, in six months time, people will still need help. We must not be in the false mind set that everything will be back to normal. I also hope that the lessons we have learned during lockdown, about those in society being kinder to another, will continue.”

Julie agreed, adding

“It is important to be kind and mindful of everyone’s journey and the challenges that everyone faces every day.”

We are pleased to continue with our support of Parenting Special Children, and if you have any enquiries or need support, then please do visit their website.