By Lindsay Woodward
Tuesday 23 March saw the one year anniversary of the lockdown in the UK - a National day of reflection thinking of those we've lost, giving thanks to our hero key workers, a personal reflection on how our lives have changed and what the future holds. With the lockdown anniversary and the roadmap set out ahead for the 'reopening' of our country it's been a week of mixed emotions. Understanding and processing those feelings is important, and this article sums it up really well.
By Natasha Sond, CFF Director and Mental Health & Court of Protection Solicitor
I remember representing an adolescent for the first time as a trainee solicitor. The client was only 14 years old but had a significant history of self-harming behaviours. These were not just superficial self-harming cuts – these were incidents such as throwing herself off a 3 storey car park. She was detained in a secure adolescent ward. I did not know her history or background when I went to see her for the first time – however, I prepared myself for a very traumatic story of significant abuse. My presumption was that this level of suicide attempt meant significant abuse of some kind.
By Daisy Edwards, Student Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner
At the start of this year, I joined the core team at CFF as a student psychological wellbeing practitioner.
Before working with CFF, my sister took part in an ‘overcoming anxiety’ group. The difference it made to her was life changing and to this day, she still uses the techniques she learnt from the group. This motivated me to help others like my sister, so I decided to volunteer at CFF. I learnt so much as I was volunteering and found it so rewarding, that from then on I knew it was something I wanted to pursue a career in. I then became a sessional worker; I helped deliver the workshops, and met with the families on home visits. I got to see more of the amazing work CFF do and met some wonderful families.
The pandemic has been a time for reflection for many people. In this week’s blog, Sandhya Keshav, CFF’s Senior Finance Officer, has been reflecting back on her 18 years at CFF.
I first set foot in CFF as a volunteer towards the end of 2002, taking on a variety of admin tasks such as making up booklets and data entry. I took on a paid role in the team in 2003 and went on to learn the finance role, including Sage and payroll systems, completing the AAT accounting qualification shortly after.
When people ask me what I enjoy most about working at CFF I always say it’s the people there. In the last 18 years I’ve worked with so many amazing people. I still remember each and every one of them - I’ve learnt so many different skills from them and I wish them all well. CFF has sort of become my second home and the people working there are like a family.
I love the variety that comes with working for a small charity. There’s the opportunity to get involved in many aspects of the charity and we’ve seen lots of change over the past year with moving from office working to working from home.
Will I be at CFF in another 18 years? Time will tell, but at this present I am cherishing every moment of it.
By Beatrice Obigbesan, CFF Administrator
Following the spread of Covid-19 and its declaration as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), office workers have endured a series of lockdowns, restrictions and multiple changes in the way that their work is carried out. From my personal experience, many abrupt shifts and adaptations had to made in order to create an alternative form of office life. Arguably, a unique formula or method of work had to be sought to ensure a sustainable working culture that could withstand the uncertainties of the pandemic. From being completely office-based one year ago, here's an insight into my experience.
By Hattie Allen, CFF
I am very fortunate to be able to support our team of fantastic young peer mentors who have been actively involved at CFF for over 6 years now.
They really are a joy to work with and make such a difference to the service we offer to young people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Our peer mentors are young people who have accessed our service previously due to experiencing personal difficulties with their own mental health. Whilst they attended one of our groups they demonstrated good leadership skills, empathy, and were approachable. They were therefore invited to become part of our peer mentor team, so that they could help other young people who are experiences similar difficulties and be able to share their personal experiences of how the group programmes helped them to overcome some of their difficulties.
Leicester charities receive funding to help give babies the best start in life
Centre for Fun and Families and Leicester Mammas, working in partnership as ‘Starting Well Leicester’ have been selected for a three-year grant from the Government’s Health and Wellbeing Fund, to reduce health inequalities amongst new mothers and give babies across the City the best start in life.
The £330,000 funding focuses on mothers living in Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities and deprived areas, and will provide a joined up pathway of support complementing existing statutory provision.
By Kate Harris, CFF.
Here at CFF I have the privilege of coordinating our Teenage Parent Pathway service. We provide teen parents and teen parents to be with a number of opportunities to receive support, come together to share experiences and gain information.
The young parents I meet are passionate about being the best parents they can be. I get an overwhelming sense from them that they want the best for their unborn babies, babies and children. They really are a joy to work with. Something however that makes me sad is a common concern they share with me and each other: feeling judged for having a baby in their teens.
By Henry Charles, CFF Project Manager
At CFF we work extremely hard and pride ourselves on our ability to engage families (young people and parents/carers) with complex personal circumstances. Sometimes we need to provide a bit more support to enable these families to take up the offer of help and it's this way of working that sets us apart from other services. I would like to share with you the journey of one particular family that I had the pleasure of working with in the past (prior to the Coronavirus and Government restrictions).
As the pandemic continues, so does the feelings of the unknown. Many of us will have different levels of anxiety, anger, stress, frustration, low mood etc. so it’s more important than ever to look after our wellbeing. Setting small targets that can help improve wellbeing, so we feel more focussed and able to cope. We encourage our young people and families to follow the five ways to wellbeing. It’s a great way to help boost wellbeing and improve mental health...