Help for Families During Lockdown
Families in South Tyneside are being reminded that support services are still available during lockdown.
Children centre day care remains open to all and pregnant women and eligible families can continue to make appointments to pick up healthy vitamins from some children's centres.
Support is still available for new parents and those who are looking to stop smoking while baby massage and weaning sessions are being delivered virtually.
The Family Information Service has also remained open throughout to support early years providers and families.
Outreach officers have also been offering bespoke support for families in financial hardship or struggling with issues such as self-isolation.
One South Shields mum-of-four has thanked the Council for the help she received when she contracted coronavirus and had no family or friends to turn to for help. The Council stepped in when the 26-year-old was struck down with the virus, meaning the entire household had to self-isolate.
The woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, has four children under the age of ten but also cares for her two brothers, one of whom has additional needs.
An outreach officer from a Children's Centre brought craft activities to keep the children entertained as well as new toys from Mission Christmas. She also arranged for food parcels to be delivered from the Hospitality and Hope Food Bank and arranged for schoolwork to be printed off and delivered to their home so that the children did not fall behind in their lessons.
She said: "I cannot praise the Council enough. "I'm normally very well-organised but with none of us being able to leave the house I realised I needed some support. My brother, who is autistic, became very agitated because he was out of his routine. The self-isolation was definitely the hardest part. Council staff were there for us one hundred per cent. Our outreach officer really was amazing and went over and above to help us, I don't know where we would have been without her."
Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: "Throughout this pandemic the Council has kept vital support services running and staff have really stepped up to the plate to help people going through particularly challenging times.
"We remain committed to making sure every child has the best start in life and will continue to help families as much as possible through these unprecedented times."
To find out more about the range of support visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/childrenscentres