Children’s charity says Covid has “amplified issues”

Share Button

‘The Brain Changer Art Project’/ © The Brain Charity

The issue regarding children who already suffer from health conditions, and how lockdown restrictions have impacted them is beginning to come to light.

Last year, those who are classified as clinically extremely vulnerable were asked to shield; tipping the lives of children and families upside down.

Lives that were already challenging were made even more so as families were asked to stay inside. From a social point of view, this increases the chances of feeling cut-off from the rest of society and isolated.

In Liverpool, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital has had to adapt their way of working significantly, to treat as many children as efficiently as possible. Their visiting rules have been tightened, allowing only one parent or carer to visit or stay with a child at any time.

The Brain Charity’s initiative: “The Brain Changer Arts Project” is aimed at children of all ages with any neurological condition. It was previously run in schools and community settings in Merseyside to combine occupational health with art and craft, as well as physiotherapy with dance. This helped facilitate community support for children ineligible for physiotherapy on the NHS. The current restrictions have now limited what the charity are able to do, as they have had to move online.

Head of Communications and Fundraising at The Brain Charity Tui Benjami said: “Covid amplified all of the issues that our community and service users previously had which was getting support, isolation and confidence. Kids being able to get those sorts of therapies that they needed; that became even more difficult.”

However, the charity have also noticed some positives as they have facilitated support to a wider range of families since they started working remotely. Ms Benjamini also acknowledges a great deal of resilience from affected families.

She said: “Because we moved all of our activities online, we’ve now actually been able to open them up to children from anywhere in the UK.

The Brain Charity has moved sessions online

“All of the parents who come to us are incredibly resilient people because, by their very nature, they most likely have a child who might have a disability or a neurological condition that affects their life and might mean that they need additional care. On the whole we’ve really really loved to see families solving problems together.”

Prince Harry also recently noted the importance of the work being done by charities such as WellChild, as he said that vulnerable children cannot be ‘forgotton’ in this pandemic. He has been emphasising that children with underlying health conditions have faced new challenges, and the charity have worked successfully to overcome them in unprecedented times.

In WellChild’s 2019-2020 Impact Report, the Duke of Sussex stated: “I am incredibly proud to say that WellChild has moved with urgency and purpose to tackle the new challenges that children with complex needs and their families have faced because of this crisis. Life for everyone has been tough. For these families, it has been tougher than most of us can imagine.”

Chief Executive of WellChild Colin Dyer said: “It’s been really tough the whole way through. And there’s been an awful lot of talk about all children and how they’ve been impacted by not being at school so much. But that’s been magnified for a child with a serious condition, or a long term condition and their families.”

About Beth Gavaghan, JMU Journalism