We invited Carla, NSPCC Scotland campaigns manager, to tell us about a new campaign, All of Us being run with Edinburgh Child Protection Committee.
Looking after a child can be a challenge for all parents at times but even more so in recent months with social-distancing measures put in place to contain Covid-19.
The lack of respite from children’s needs or relationship strains will have taken their toll on many parents; some will have lost their jobs and be experiencing financial difficulties and there will be those who have suffered illness and bereavement.
These pressures and anxieties will have been intensified by the fact that families were having to cope without access to their usual support networks.
Many children have now returned to school and people are able to meet friends and family outside of their homes. However, we are all living with the uncertainty of how long this will last because of the possibility of stricter social-distancing measures being imposed in the future.
It’s so important that parents know that, whatever the situation, support is out there and there is somewhere to turn when they need extra help. That is why earlier this year, NSPCC Scotland teamed up with the Edinburgh Child Protection Committee to launch the All of Us campaign to let families know where and how they can get advice and support.
One of the organisations involved in the campaign is Stepping Stones North Edinburgh – a charity that supports young parent families.
A 20-year-old mum, who receives support from this charity, said:
“It’s good to be able to talk to others and know that we’re all in the same boat. It makes you realise you are not alone, no-one judges you and it’s confidential. I sometimes go to a session feeling really stressed but leave feeling chilled and happy to see my son and in a better place to play with him.”
A 21-year-old mum-of-two, who is also supported by the charity, said:
“Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, no matter what age you are or your kid is, and if you’re struggling just ask for help because there’s always someone out there.”
Here is a link to a YouTube video of two mums supported by Stepping Stones talking about the importance of reaching out for help.
At the start of the year we held a number of community events across the city and then in April we brought together information on our web page about organisations and contacts where families could turn for help during lockdown. This included information on support offered by public services, voluntary agencies and charities to support people who need it. Some examples are food banks, financial advice, crisis loans, activities for children and support and advice on home learning.
We have also sent this information in food boxes to more than 300 families across the city and via email to parents through schools. And we have been reaching out to families needing extra help with a targeted social media campaign.
The details on our web page are regularly updated so people know what support services are available under current circumstances.
The different organisations involved in the campaign have also been working together to gain insight into how they can best support families and protect children across Edinburgh, in online workshops. We are now planning on creating a webinar about neglect – the signs, impact and what to do – tailored for adults working with children and families in Edinburgh.
And, next month, we will be putting on a Virtual Fun Day with organisations across Edinburgh for families, who will be able to sign up to the different activities for free.
To find out more about the campaign and about available support visit www.edinburgh.gov.uk/allofus
For parenting advice and support visit NSPCC helpline or call 0808 800 5000, weekdays 8am to 10pm and weekends 9am to 6pm. People can also contact Social Care Direct on 0131 200 2324.