Peterborough’s NSPCC service centre praise children’s resilience throughout the pandemic and hope to reopen referral system in new years message
Su Wright, NSPCC Children’s Services Practitioner for the NSPCC Peterborough Service Centre said: “This year has had an unprecedented effect on all of us, including children; many of whom will have been adversely impacted by isolation, a reduction in support systems and anxiety about the virus.
“For some young people, there was the potential for them to become hidden victims. When we were very suddenly told we had to leave the office and start lockdown, I remember thinking about the impact this would have on the children who come to this service centre.
“These children and young people are survivors of abuse and other traumatic experiences and I was concerned about what would happen to them without the support they receive from groups, school and our services here.
“I was relieved when we were told that we could continue to offer our services virtually. Our work is about building on relationships with the children that come through our door and creating a safe space for them. Whilst we know that home isn’t a safe space for every child we were able to continue working with many children on our referral list.
“We also created a monthly newsletter to offer regular contact, providing topical content and information about activities, to children, young people, families and professionals during the pandemic, and in particular during lockdown.
“When the service centre building re-opened, in order to do it safely, we gradually reintroduced in-person sessions with the children and young people we work with.
“This included children from our Protect and Respect programme, which is a service for 11-18-year-olds who need help with learning about healthy relationships or for those who have experienced sexual exploitation.
“Others were on our Letting the Future In programme, a therapeutic service for young people impacted by sexual abuse, and also our Seeking Solutions programme, which helps children and young people address problems affecting their lives, such as bullying and relationship difficulties.
“One young person, who was able to continue sessions throughout the pandemic, told us that we had helped her talk about things she found difficult to express and had given her another perspective on life.
“As we approach Christmas, we are very aware that this time of year can be a particularly difficult time for children suffering abuse, neglect and poor mental health and, this year, the impact of the Coronavirus could put even more children at risk.
“We also know that there are many volunteers across the country who are willing to pitch in throughout the festive period and ensure that the NSPCC and Childline are here for children, young people and worried adults.
“Considering we’ve never experienced a situation like Covid-19 before, this year has shown children’s resilience and abilities to adapt; many have overcome their pandemic-related anxieties and some even assisted us with some of our knowledge on the latest tech being used in remote sessions.
“Many of our children were unable to access the internet during the year, so now that we are able to see them face-to-face again we have prioritised them. But we will be looking to open up our referral system again in the New Year.
“To raise awareness of child neglect and abuse this Christmas, the NSPCC has launched its Here for Children Christmas Appeal.
“Your donation can help make sure children have someone to hear their troubles at a time of year when it’s all too easy to feel isolated. Please help us be there for children and young people this Christmas.”