Kinship carers have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in so many ways. Over the last nine months we have had to adjust to a ‘new normal’; a world full of uncertainty, change, isolation and anxiety. Grandparents Plus have been doing all we can to support kinship care families across England and Wales in this unprecedented time.
Through our Kinship Response programme, dedicated to supporting kinship care families during the pandemic, we have helped families in 68 boroughs across England and Wales. Our dedicated team of project and advice workers have delivered much needed and life-changing support to families.
Over the next few weeks we wanted to share some personal stories from kinship carers. Today we want to share Angie’s story with you.
Angie became a special guardian to her young nieces and nephews in 2007 and is now raising three teenagers aged 15 to 18, which brings its own challenges. However, since March and the start of the first lockdown, the family has found it increasingly difficult to cope. Angie has struggled with the isolation and not being able to go out to do normal things; she was anxious when she spoke to the Grandparents Plus team about a second wave and what that meant for her and her family. She also felt lonely.
The children were bored, they couldn’t see their friends or go to school, and the pressure of learning from home, and exams, was tough. Balancing their mental health and keeping them engaged and motivated has been paramount to Angie. One of the teenagers has ADHD and an eating disorder, and the anxiety and stress of lockdown made it harder for them to get help and stay well. This has meant that sometimes the children have fought, leaving Angie to try and keep the peace. Angie needed support to help her make sure she was looking after herself, as well as her family.
Angie spoke to a Grandparents Plus project worker and they discussed different strategies to support and cope with the children, and ways to make time for herself and do something she likes to do. She was signposted to specific information on ADHD, and other resources in her area to help support the children and was also referred to our Grants team, who are helping the family get laptops for school so they can work at home and keep up with their studies.
She also talked to one of our volunteers through our Someone Like Me service. Having another kinship carers to talk to who understands what she’s going through has made her feel supported and heard.
Angie is keen to help other kinshp carers in the future too and is keen to join the Someone Like Me volunteer team. She says;
“Grandparents Plus have helped me gain confidence and I am now keen to try helping others like myself.”
If you are a kinship carer and would like to access free support, please click here to sign up now.
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