Sharing our stories through crisis
There is no doubt the past few months have been challenging - but your generosity is already making a difference to those who need it most.
Thanks to your support, vulnerable children and families in our community are receiving critical assistance from Barnardos during the coronavirus pandemic.
Our frontline workers have been busy adapting services to make sure people continue to get the support they need. Below is just some of the stories from our centres of the crucial support being provided to the community.
Providing vital phone support through programs like LINKER
Family violence has increased by 50% during the coronavirus pandemic* and it is the children who suffer the most.
Our Domestic Violence service, LINKER, specialises in after-hours support for victims in rural and regional NSW. Most of the work is done over the phone where staff like Megan proactively call clients in some of the loneliest hours to make sure they are ok.
The current pandemic has increased anxiety and stress for many of her clients. There is no certainty around anything. For families escaping violence and now living in crisis accommodation, they might not even have access to the internet to support their home schooling.
“I have one client who has just been given an eviction notice. She has a three-year-old child and, as a person with a disability, she survives on the disability support allowance. This is the second time she has escaped the violence of her child’s father. This situation is made ten times harder by the pandemic.”
Over the past few months, Megan and her colleagues in Western NSW have adapted to restrictions so they may continue to support vulnerable families remotely.
“We know it is a difficult time for families, without their normal support structures. We want to be there to anticipate any issues. That’s why we are using the LINKER model to proactively call clients. We aren’t going to wait until a problem blows up.”
“It’s about providing emotional support but also knowing what practical support clients can access. Our early intervention staff have built strong relationships with these families and are well placed to support them through this difficult time. We know that calling parents in the evening when people are often at their most vulnerable, will be really beneficial.”
*New Domestic Violence Survey in NSW Shows Impact of COVID-19 on the Rise - Women’s Safety NSW. 3 April 2020.
Many vulnerable families are having difficulty accessing the essentials. Lack of basic food items is adding extra stress to families already struggling. Our team is working around the clock to provide food parcels to those in need across all our centres.
In Western NSW, our Wellington Children’s Family Centre is one of the only emergency food services remaining in the area. Other services in the area have sadly closed their doors due to COVID-19 concerns. Program Manager Mark says there is a lot of anxiety in the community and the food packs are a great opportunity to check in with struggling families, even at a distance.
Wellington Breakfast Club Worker Deb Ryan has also been cooking meals at home and dropping them off at the centre. Unfortunately, Deb is in a high-risk group and, as per Barnardos COVID-19 policy, is no longer able to work from the centre. Deb loves the Wellington community and is dedicated to supporting children and families in need.
Before COVID-19, Barnardos Penrith delivered an average of 500 food parcels to vulnerable families per month. Today, this number has doubled to over 1000 and continues to climb – we wouldn’t have been able to support these families without you!
Queanbeyan Youth Packs
“Some days will be harder than others but we are here for you.” Our amazing Youth Workers Tina and Travis have put together activity packs to deliver to each of the vulnerable young people in their Queanbeyan youth programs. The packs are individualised for each client and have a focus on mindfulness and coping mechanisms to help keep young people calm during this time of crisis. They are also a great way for us to check up on the young people in our community.
Thanks to your support, workers like Tina and Travis can continue to spread positivity during these uncertain times.
We have also set up virtual mentoring so our vulnerable young people can stay connected and receive continuing support via phone and text.
Baby packs for mothers
Many of our centres have been inundated with requests for nappies, baby wipes, bed linen and other baby-related items. Your generosity is providing mothers with essential items so they can care for their children in the best way possible. Delivering baby packs to vulnerable mums is also a great way to check in on their mental health.
These mums can't say ‘thank you’ enough!
The fallout from this crisis will continue to impact families well into the future. We still need your support to help rebuild the lives of vulnerable children and families in the wake of this pandemic.