These are unprecedented times and Momentum Children’s Charity, like many other organisations, is facing a range of issues requiring difficult decisions.
First and foremost, we are committed to continuing to support our familieswho are already coping with the immense challenges that come with having a child with cancer or a life-challenging condition. We understand that the coronavirus pandemic has wide-reaching implications for them, including worries about their child’s risk of infection, risks to the entire family, and the possibility of increased isolation and being cut off from their support networks.
We have reviewed our support offerings, in line with the constantlychanging government advice, and will keep this page up to date over the coming weeks. Being a small charity, with the ability to be adaptable and flexible, we will ensure we continue to support families whilst at all times being mindful of reducing any possible risk to them:
1. We support families referred to us from 6 local hospitals. On advice from the NHS Trusts, we will no longer have Family Support Workers, or our therapists, visiting the children’s wards to support the social distancing recommendations. Family Support Workers will, however, increase the telephone, text and email support they provide to their family caseloads as required. We have many new hospital refurbishment projects in the pipeline and still plan to deliver these, albeit there may be some delays.
2. In light of updated government guidance concerning non-essential travel, our New Forest and Pagham holiday cabins, along with our riverboat on the Thames, will be closed until further notice. We appreciate this will be disappointing to many families who rely on our respite services to provide a much-needed break from the stresses of treatment. We aim to be up and running again as soon as it is safe to do so.
3. We will adapt our home support services as follows:
One-to-one therapies including music and play will be replaced with online support and weekly ‘creative and wellbeing’ packs for the whole family, to help entertain sick children and siblings, as well as some treats for mum and dad.
We will arrange ‘virtual’ visits to individual children by our Fairy Princess and other entertainers.
Counselling provision will be offered online or by phone, rather than face-to face, and extended to include grandparents who are feeling worried about their family and their own health.
We will increase funds available for Educational Support, one of our newest service. Families will be able to access our educational support service to provide their child with 12 weeks of hourly tutoring support, helping them to continue their studies if they are in isolation or off school.
To continue our support services, we need to continue raising funds. Already, we are having to review our fundraising calendar, and make changes to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Sadly some of our events and activities are cancelled or postponed, and we will keep our website updated on all changes. This will of course impact on our charity income. However we will be taking this opportunity to pick up the phone to as many of our supporters as possible, to keep them abreast of developments, and to also keep sharing some of the positives about how we can still make a difference to hundreds of local families. We understand the challenges that so many other organisations and individuals are facing themselves, but we have already been amazed by the continuing support and generosity.
Finally, we’re looking after our staff and volunteers. We’re supporting staff to work from home over the coming weeks to protect them, their loved ones, and other colleagues. We’ve had some creative ideas already on how to boost team morale using online team lunches and regular telephone check-ins, to prevent anyone feeling they are alone. Our support and fundraising teams will be keeping in touch with volunteers, to keep them involved in our work whilst respecting that they may need to reduce some of the time they can commit to us.
There is no denying that it is going to be a difficult few months, but we will keep up the ‘momentum’ and continue to stand by the local families in our community who need us more than ever before. We are confident that our supporters, and community networks, understand our needs and will continue to give back…for which we are incredibly grateful.