Our Partnership is made up of organisations working closely together to plan services and address the challenges facing health and care services across the area.
In this section you will find links to useful information and publications about our partnership.
We are committed to meaningful conversations with people, on the right issues at the right time. We believe this is an important part of the way we work.
Engagement gives people an opportunity to have their say on services. By gathering people's views, it helps us understand what matters to people.
In this section you will find all Freedom of Information (FOI) requests made to our Partnership. You can also ask a question of your own.
Schools and colleges remain open for children of key workers and vulnerable children who cannot be cared for at home. ‘Vulnerable’ children include children that have a social worker (including children who are in foster care) and those up to the age of 25 with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
If your child falls under this category, it may still be possible for you to look after them at home. If your child has an EHC plan and you can look after them at home, the school or college should carry out a risk-assessment together with you and the local authority to work out the best way forward during this time. This can include, for example, having carers, therapists or clinicians visiting the home to provide essential services.
But if you are not able to look after your child at home for whatever reason, they can continue going to school or college.
For more information, the government has produced detailed FAQ guidance on education for vulnerable children and young people.
No, if you do not want to send your child to school then you do not have to. Government has said that if you are able to care for your child at home, you should continue doing so.
And if your child is in the ‘high risk’ group for coronavirus, you may have received a letter from the NHS to tell them that they need to be shielding. The instructions in this letter are very clear. They must stay at home at all times and avoid all face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks, except from you as their carer and any healthcare workers continuing to provide medical care.
If this is the case, then you should not continue sending your child to school and you have a right to take time off work if there is nobody else to help with childcare.
Most schools are still closed but there are loads of resources available that you may find help you with home-schooling your children. If you are finding this overwhelming - you are not alone. Remember to be kind to yourself. If you get stressed and grumpy, your children are likely to do the same. These top tips and resources may help you.
There's a lot of uncertainty in the world at the moment. And there won't always be answers to the questions your children are asking. But there is lots of help and advice on how you can have these conversations in an age appropriate, safe and open way. The Government has produced this guidance that you may find useful.
Talking with your child about coronavirus is important. Not talking about something can actually make kids worry more. Look at the conversation as an opportunity to convey the facts and set the emotional tone. Your goal is to help your children feel informed and get fact-based information that is more reassuring than whatever they’re hearing from their friends or on the news.
Be developmentally appropriate
Don’t volunteer too much information, as this may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer your child’s questions honestly and clearly. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything; being available to your child is what matters.
Take your cues from your child
Invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard about the coronavirus, and how they feel. Give them ample opportunity to ask questions. You want to be prepared to answer (but not prompt) questions. Your goal is to avoid encouraging frightening fantasies.
Deal with your own anxiety
If you notice that you are feeling anxious, take some time to calm down before trying to have a conversation or answer your child’s questions.
Children are very egocentric, so hearing about the coronavirus on the news may be enough to make them seriously worry that they’ll catch it. It’s helpful to reassure your child that kids actually seem to have milder symptoms.
Focus on what you’re doing to stay safe
An important way to reassure kids is to emphasise the safety precautions that you are taking. Children feel empowered when they know what to do to keep them safe. Remind kids that they are taking care of themselves by washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds when they come in from outside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom.
Stick to routine
Children don’t like uncertainty, so staying rooted in routines and predictability is going to be helpful. Structured days with regular mealtimes and bedtimes are an essential part of keeping kids happy and healthy.
Tell children that you will continue to keep them updated as you learn more. Let them know that the lines of communication are going to be open.
Try different ways to explain coronavirus. Depending on your child’s developmental age and particular needs you may find other resources useful in explaining coronavirus such as comics, picture books or cartoons. Some resources are specifically produced with children with specific needs such as explaining coronavirus in Makaton, a photo story for children with autism. If your child has a life limiting condition, you may find this advice helpful.
My child is anxious about coronavirus
The NSPCC has some advice to help you support them and keep them safe. They recommend the following: talking to your child, keeping in touch with family and friends, creating structure and routine and giving your children a sense of control.
My child won’t stop talking about coronavirus
If your child is having a hard time letting go of things that worry them, or if they get stuck on ideas that make them feel anxious or threatened and can’t stop talking about them you may find this guidance useful.
My child won’t talk about coronavirus
When kids are worried or afraid, they don’t always want to talk about it. For kids who learn and think differently, there can be added challenges that keep them from opening up. You may find this link useful.
There's a lot of uncertainty in the world at the moment and this can be very frightening for children. In addition everyday life has changed and will continue to change for most people, often with little notice. Children may struggle with significant adjustments to their routines (e.g., schools and child care closures, social distancing, home confinement), which may interfere with their sense of structure, predictability, and security. Young people—even infants and toddlers, are keen observers of people and environments, and they notice and react to other people’s stress. They may ask direct questions about what is happening now or what will happen in the future and may behave differently in reaction to strong feelings (e.g., fear, worry, sadness, and anger) about the pandemic and related conditions. Children also may worry about their own safety and the safety of their loved ones, how they will get their basic needs met (e.g., food, shelter, clothing), and uncertainties for the future.
During this time it is very important to care for their emotional health as well as their physical health. The Government has produced this guidance on looking after your child’s mental health and wellbeing during this challenging time that you may find useful.
I’m concerned about my child's mental health
Children’s responses to stressful events are unique and varied. Some children may be irritable or clingy, and some may regress, demand extra attention, or have difficulty with self-care, sleeping, and eating. New and challenging behaviours are natural responses, and adults can help by showing empathy and patience and by calmly setting limits when needed.
While most children eventually return to their typical functioning when they receive consistent support from sensitive and responsive caregivers, others are at risk of developing significant mental health problems. If you are concerned about your child there is lots of support available.
Your child can still access emotional support from helplines, text-lines and online chat services anytime they need to – and Childline, Samaritans and the YoungMinds Crisis Messenger all provide 24/7 support. The Mix is also providing online and phone support as normal. You can find organisations offering support for young people around specific mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and self-harm on the Young Minds Parents Guide to Support.
The YoungMinds Parents Helpline is available to offer advice to parents and carers worried about a child or young person under 25. Call for free on: 0808 802 5544 from Mon-Fri, 9:30am - 4pm.
You can also use YoungMinds email service at any time. If you need further help after speaking to one of our Helpline advisors, we can refer you to one of our specialists – whether it’s a psychotherapist, psychiatrist, psychologist or mental health nurse - who will arrange a phone call with you.
If you are worried about your child’s mental health and need professional support, contact your GP. In line with NHS advice, avoid going to the GP surgery in person if you can. To speak to a doctor or book an appointment, you can phone the surgery, use their online contact service if they have one, or visit the surgery’s website to find out the best way to get in touch.
My child is already treated by CAMHS
If your child is already being treated by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) or another mental health service, get in touch by phone with the service and/or their key workers to discuss how their support will continue during the pandemic. Many services will be offering online or telephone support in place of meeting face-to-face. If your child is already seeing a therapist or counsellor, or needs emotional support and would benefit from starting therapy or counselling while the pandemic is happening, it may be possible to arrange online or phone sessions in place of face-to-face. Ask the professional supporting your child about this.
If your child experiences a mental health crisis and they need urgent care, you can seek professional support in the following ways:
Resources you access will depend on your child's developmental stage and specific needs. Here are some suggestions you may find useful:
Coronavirus is infectious to children but it is rarely serious. If your child is unwell, it is likely to be a non-coronavirus illness, rather than coronavirus itself. Whilst it is extremely important to follow government advice to stay at home during this time, it can be confusing to know what to do if your child is unwell or injured. Please remember that NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still open and providing the same safe care that they always have. This advice will help you choose the right service for your child if they are unwell.
Parenting isn’t easy, particularly at this very difficult time. If you think your child is unhappy or if you are worried about their behaviour, it’s easy to be hard on yourself and think you aren’t doing a good job. Remember to look after yourself. If your child is having problems, don’t be too hard on yourself or blame yourself. Although it can be upsetting and worrying if your child is having a bad time, and it makes your relationship with them feel more stressful, you are not a bad parent.
The following tips are for any parent who is worried about their child, or their own parenting skills.
As a carer you may be worried about would happen to the person you care for in an emergency,
You may be worried about getting coronavirus and being unable to care for your loved one, and that if someone else needs to care for them, they won’t know your loved one like you and how to calm them when they are scared.
We advise all carers to create an emergency plan or Plan B for you and all those you look after. Having a plan in place can help ease your worries if you are not able to care for those you look after at any point in the future. By completing this it will to help you think about the different ways and people that can help you in an emergency, before the emergency happens. Plan B should be completed with as much information as possible and keep it in a safe place, making sure someone else you trust knows where it is, should they need it. Having this important information in one place could be of immense support and help when needed at a critical time, when time might be limited.
When help is urgently needed, you might contact a family member, friend or neighbour who would be willing to cover in an emergency, but we know that this isn't always possible. If you have no one to turn to, call the government's helpline on: 0800 028 8327 or visit gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable to register for the support that you need. For care support, you could contact your local council or trust and it's worth seeking help for practical tasks, such as collecting prescriptions, from your local Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK group.