Since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak, Stepping Stones has quickly adapted the way we deliver our services to ensure we meet our core charitable purpose “To equip women who have suffered abuse or who are vulnerable due to substance misuse, with the skills, hope and resources they need to make positive life choices”.
With our Luton office and childcare facilities temporarily closed, we have moved to a digital and phone-based support service and are making some emergency provision deliveries where needed.
Looking at countries such as China and Italy, who are further ahead in the pandemic, we predict that there will be a significant increase in the demand for our service. In China, cases of domestic abuse have increased threefold. Our team of Practitioners continue to regularly keep in touch with their clients; checking in on their health and wellbeing (particularly mental health) and addressing any specific emotional and practical issues that have arisen since the outbreak.
We are also accepting new referrals (both from professionals and self-referrals) to ensure as many vulnerable women as possible from Luton and Central Bedfordshire can access support in this particularly difficult time.
Our Support Services
Our newly adapted suite of support includes:
• One to one phone contact – at a frequency dependent on need. As well as checking in on general health and wellbeing, the sessions include practical support (finances, accommodation, help navigating the family courts and social services procedures etc).
• One to one video contact – where a client feels comfortable to use this technology. It helps us to get a better sense of the clients’ (and their children’s) health and wellbeing.
• Virtual attendance at statutory services meetings – this includes supporting clients at on line/phone meetings with social services
• Text messages- to check on safety and wellbeing
• Online pre-recorded video content - we have created a pack of online resources including childcare videos (games, songs, stories and explaining Coronavirus to young children); coping strategies (we have made a mindfulness audio!) and links to other useful practical resources.
• Interactive structured group content either one to one or in groups – this will be piloted over the next week with the aim to roll out as soon as is possible.
• Virtual coffee cake chat – an online peer to peer group chat.
• Online counselling through our volunteer counsellors.
We will be constantly looking for new ways to deliver our support services throughout this challenging period but you can be assured that we will be ready to open our doors again as soon as we are given the green light! We know our support is critical. As one service user said:
“There’s always someone to help you and it’s been magical. I probably wouldn’t be here now without you guys.”
How to get in touch
To find out more about our services, visit www.steppingstonesluton.co.uk or call 01582457114. You can follow us on twitter @steppingstonesl, on Facebook or Instagram (steppingstonesluton).
How you can help?
• Promote our support: If you think you know someone who is in need of help, please refer them to our support.
• Make a donation: Our charitable work is only possible through kind donations from organisations and individuals. You can donate in a number of ways to help us sustain our much-needed services including:
o Every Click
o Assigning Stepping Stones as your charity of choice through Give as you Live and Amazon Smile