Building Blocks Family Centre and our work during COVID-19

Building Blocks Family Centre, is based in the Neath Valley in a small ex-mining community called Resolven. We were established by four mothers back in 2020 who had a passion for making difference to lives of children and families in our community. We usually provide a range of family support services from childcare including one to one support for children with disabilities. We offer play services for children with disabilities that helps to build resilience and confidence. Alongside this we deliver well-being and emotional support for children and young people with disabilities including their families. We also offer a range of family support from food bank service, parenting, employment, volunteering and training to help support family’s daily lives. Finally, we run early intervention services for children under the age of 5 years old with speech, language and communication difficulties. We are a very hand on service that is there to support all aspects of family life.

Covid-19 has been difficult for everyone and at Building Blocks Family Centre, we were no different. On the 23rd March 2020 we had to close our doors to the community for the first time in 12 years and unfortunately, many of our staff were placed on furlough as we could not continue to run our childcare services and we only had 2 parents who were key workers, who required childcare support so closing temporarily was a difficult decision for us.

However, our project staff continued to work from home and we saw how we need to adapt our services to online delivery which meant we could support our families at a distance. Our biggest focus was adapting our food bank so that we could deliver parcels to families who couldn’t physically leave their homes and we have seen heavy rise in food parcels with 101 parcels being delivered during lockdown period and they still continue to be high with families losing their work.

Our staff and volunteers have been amazing and have adapted so quickly to making sure families still receive the support they needed during lockdown. As usual the team have risen to the challenge and I am proud that they have been able to adapt so quickly to make sure families still receive support. It has been truly heart warming receiving the kind messages from families who we have been able to support and seeing that our staff and volunteers have been able to make a difference to their lives during such unprecedented times.

Anonymous - "You have helped myself and my partner and children during this very difficult time and I am overwhelmed by the help you have given , to go out of your way to deliver food whilst I am low on money and my partner is our of work during this pandemic. Big thumbs up to you all"

We have also taken to social media and started "moments a day" page which we encouraged residents in Neath Port Talbot to join where we kept the place fully positive through the lock down. It has been a place where people have come together to share positive ideas and activities to do through the pandemic and keep them upbeat when we have been surrounded by such devastation. We've also held virtual quizzes for children, when connecting with their friends was so difficult due to school closures and held regular coffee evenings to connect with people who have felt isolated lonely or struggling such a difficult time. We have also recorded podcasts to give our families lots of resources to support their families at home such how to help your child with meditation, helping your child develop their speech and language, how to support your child's mental health during lockdown and so many more. We have held online workshops to help parents who are struggling with their sleep, children with challenging behaviour and transitioning to comprehensive school.

Anonymous -"Thank you Building Blocks for running this page, it has been my go to page during lockdown, when everything was doom and gloom I knew if i went to your page it would be happy and full of positivity which i really needed some days, so thank you"

Our Talk2gether team have continued to deliver our speech, language and communication support services online for children under the age of 5. This has meant that children have continued to get the early intervention support that they really need during lockdown, especially with childcare and schools closed.

Our Talk it Through service has also been busy during the pandemic, making sure children with disabilities and their families receive much needed emotional and well-being support, by providing online counselling, toolkits and weekly videos providing tips to keep calm and manage anxiety and emotional well-being.

Through lockdown our teams have ensured that families haven't felt abandoned, alone or struggling and have kept in regular contact with them making sure they got the right support at the right time or just being that listening ear in such awful times. "Building Blocks staff has continued to provide much needed support during these unpredictable times and has ensured and adapted support that i received. Christina (Family Development Officer) has listened to my concerns particularly about my children's emotional well-being and she has found ways for me to support them at home, so thank you"Anonyomous

                

                                                                     

If it wasn't for the support of the Moondance Foundation, Awards for All Wales, Community Foundation in Wales, Pen y Cymoedd, Edward Gosling Foundation, Marsh Charitable Trust, Muirhall Energy, NPTCVS Voluntary Emergency Fund, WCVA Voluntary Emergency Fund, BBC Children In Need and National Lottery Community Fund for their grants and funding support during this time, without their support we wouldn't be here today.Our future is uncertain however we know more than ever the demand for our services is increasing and families need us more now than ever before.

We have re-opened our door once more and we hope that we can continue to keep delivering the support services our children and families rely us on. We are still offering online support and delivering childcare once more from our premises. We are hoping to start once again with face to face work once we can ensure the safety of all.

If you are a family living in Neath Port Talbot and need any support please get in touch at 01639 710076 or follow us on facebook or ask to join our moments a day page on facebook or visit our website www.buildingblocksfamilycentre.co.uk.

Action By When Update from Rebecca Feedbacck from Ceri Deleagated to Completed
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