Thanks to recent government funding of £9,500 from the National Lottery Community Fund, Haven have been able to continue providing services for children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic by moving to a virtual delivery model.

With social distancing measures in place, people self-isolating and, government guidelines asking everyone to work from home where possible, it was important for us to find new ways of working so that children and young people affected by domestic abuse were still able to receive help and support.

Online workbooks, activity packs and staff training

Prior to Covid-19, all our support was provided on a face to face basis, so we needed to develop new resources and ensure that our staff had the skills and confidence to deliver sessions using digital technology. The funding specifically provided:

Online workbooks: an interactive tool used during support sessions and giving the child or young person a journal to continue using afterwards.

Activity packs: resources, including craft materials and games, to be used during sessions.

Staff training: helping our staff to develop new skills and confidence when using technology to deliver online support.

Specific developments as a result of the funding

We've provided training for our staff and piloted a variety of communication tools (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, telephone support, text support and remote working), which led to us establishing guidance on:

  • Getting started with Zoom
  • Zoom guidance for parents & carers
  • Guidance for practitioners delivering online support
  • Virtual sessions agreement

An online workbook and toolkit has been developed and piloted in our group sessions, and new resources have been created to help our sessions take place in a safe and socially distant manner. 

Implementing this new way of working now means that all our supported children, young people and their families can have access to virtual support. Importantly, new IT equipment has also been sourced to ensure that those without access to technology could still participate in online sessions.

These new resources funded by the National Lottery Community Fund enable our children and young people to work through emotions triggered by grief, worry and anxiety and we've been pleasantly surprised by the response to the online sessions. Once child described it as a "lifeline" which is hugely important in these difficult times of lockdown and social distancing.

Haven Director, Kerry Albiston, said "We're extremely grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport for awarding Haven this funding. It helps ensure that children, young people and their families affected by domestic abuse in the Sheffield area can continue to receive the help and support they need."