With increasing numbers of people isolated because of quarantine and social distancing, COVID-19 is not the only public health threat we should be worried about. Loneliness and isolation are likely too, which is why we should stay socially distant but digitally close.
Social distancing shouldn’t mean being isolated. In fact, during this current crisis we absolutely must connect more and the way we will do this will be digitally. The most vulnerable in our society need us to do this to take care of their emotional and sometimes physical health.
Most of us are lucky enough to be at home gathering our family around us at this time but what about children in care, care leavers or children isolated in situations with family members that present a risk to them? All our safeguards will be removed or at least seriously compromised. Social work visits, child protection conferences even looked after reviews will be interrupted, potentially for the next few months .
Our apps are a lifeline
Services are going to be massively stretched with 50-80% of their workforce likely to infected with coronavirus. We are already hearing about children’s services that are using our apps as a lifeline for young people to keep in touch with them. These services are working hard now to make sure that as many of their young people as possible can have their own accounts, encouraging them to use the apps as much as they need to. They are working with their commissioning teams to make sure that staff in independent homes are required to help the children placed with them sign up for an account if they haven’t already.
Our newly launched feature provides services with a named list of young people who are reporting to feel unsafe or unhappy where they live. The Safety Link will become a vital resource in its own right, allowing services to put their efforts exactly where they are needed.
We commit to supporting you
All of this can be facilitated digitally, while we observe social distance. We will help you if you need to support wider roll out in your services to cover as many of your young people as possible. We will send over details of some of our ideas later this week but for now we will commit to providing a weekly webinar delivering training for your workers that will support them to understand how to help young people sign up and start using the apps. This will take place at the same time each week so you can organise your workforce to participate.
Our team is now only working remotely but we will continue to provide the service you have come to expect of us. If you have any other ideas that would support you at this difficult time please let us know and we will do our best to help.
We wish you all the very best of luck and have every respect for each and every worker on the frontline. Please do your best to stay safe and we look forward to seeing you again in person on the other side.
Ask about webinars and other online events for your staff here