News & Events

Super Gran!

bsiobhan
27.01.2020 - 14:19

A mother of 2 boys speaks about the experience of having a volunteer ’Super Gran’ to visit once a week:

“Any parent or carer will know that having a child definitely changes your life and routine many wonderful ways.  Having a new addition to your family can require juggling lots of tasks and having an extra pair of hands can make such a huge difference.  Those extra pair of hands for me came from Home Link Family Support – we were paired with a wonderful volunteer who became a huge lifeline. 

Our volunteer or as we used to call her ‘Super Gran’ or ‘Grandma Maria’ would come in to help me with my two children for a couple of hours every week. 

No task was ever too big – I can’t actually ever remember her saying ‘no’ to anything.  The key thing was that I trusted her – within the year we developed a good relationship and I got to see that she truly cared. We spoke about lots of things from food to music, travel and family.

She worked very closely with my little boy who has additional support needs.  She played games with him; taught him how to use toys; helped with his feeding and much more.  At times she would help watch both my children (who were 4 years and under 1 year) while I did some chores around the house.  Knowing I had those 2 hours every week to quickly get a few things done was such a massive help.  Every Tuesday the boys would wait for her to arrive and greet her by the door.  She was so mild mannered, friendly and kind - she would sing to them and they loved seeing her.  She almost became part of our family.

Having a child with additional needs has extra challenges – but this was never a challenge for Maria.  She saw the child before the disability.  She would help me to get to appointments or play with the boys into the garden.

What blew my mind was the fact she was doing this for free.  I was always taught that nothing in life comes for free. However, Home Link Family Support gave this service to my family for free.  Home Link harnessed their skills as a charity organisation to bring together volunteers and developed these wonderful individuals’ skills to become volunteers to support families, such as mine.  Words can’t express how grateful I am. 

I hope that Home Link Family Support can continue to do their amazing work – supporting children and their families.

Thank you J”

Occupational Therapy within Home Link and the Third Sector

Jane
16.12.2019 - 14:46

As I approach the end of my time at Home Link and reflect on my experience, I realise the value of Occupational Therapy (OT) embedded within the third sector. 

For those of you who don’t know, Occupational Therapy is a unique profession which focuses on providing practical support to people and empowering them to overcome barriers that prevent them from doing activities (or occupations) that they find important.  These occupations could be essential day to day tasks such as self-care, work/school, or leisure/play.

Traditionally, Occupational Therapists have worked mainly within the health and education sector.  However, according to The College of Occupational Therapists, a growing number of OTs are now found in other innovative places – such as children and families charity services.

My time at Home Link has enabled me to see first-hand the value of Occupational Therapists working in these types of settings. As Bergson (a fellow OT) puts it, “We are active problem solvers, dual trained in both physical and mental health, take a strengths-based approach and naturally work across the health, social care, and third sectors.” These traits are all of great importance to clients, who often have complicated backgrounds and multiple barriers preventing them from maintaining their health and wellbeing.

At Home Link I have worked with families who struggle to access community services and feel they are stigmatised by society. They are balancing social and economic disadvantage whilst trying to raise their children to grow and develop into positive and confident adults. Families can become easily overwhelmed by their circumstances which can lead to breakdowns in their family systems and challenges in completing basic living skills.

My role at this organisation has been developing since I started here, but with my Occupational Therapy hat on I have been able to support children and families to develop daily routines, have worked with them to set meaningful and realistic goals, have supported families to access services and resources, and have empowered them to begin to engage and balance all the different occupations in their lives. In its entirety, I have helped families build confidence in themselves and confidence in each other, increasing their wellbeing and quality of life.  

My work at Home Link has truly proven that there is a huge role for Occupational Therapy in third sector organisations. Occupational Therapists have core skills which can support the prevention of crisis and positively make a difference to marginalised groups in society. I hope in the future, professionals like myself will continue to seek out roles that are non-traditional in the OT world. In doing so, we can continue to serve the people that are desperately needing active Occupational Therapy support.

 

Reference

Bergson, K. (2016, February 3). There's a place for occupational therapy beyond councils and the NHS. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/social-life-blog/2016/feb/03/occupational-therapy-ot-student-nhs.

 

 

"The support has been a lifeline for us"

Jane
01.10.2019 - 09:23

At Home Link Family Support, we support many families and each family is unique. Lewis (aged 4) was waiting for an Autism assessment, when his family were referred to Home Link Family Support. He lives with his Great Auntie, who is his legal guardian and his Mum, Sophie. His legal guardian is also carer for his Mum, who has mental health issues. At the time they were referred, Lewis’ carers were finding it difficult to manage his behaviour, and it was difficult for Lewis to take part in a daily routine. The family felt quite isolated and that they needed some support with this.

An Early Years coordinator visited them at home, and discussed the family situation and the issues that they faced. Together they set a personal goal, for Lewis to be able to take part in a daily routine and for the family to be supported in doing this. The Coordinator discussed how to use a visual timetable with the family, and supported them in starting to use this with Lewis. Mandy and Sophie said that they found this very helpful. Lewis gradually became more independent with his morning routine. The support provided then developed into supporting Lewis’ learning at home. The Coordinator supported the family to use a social story with Lewis to help with his behaviour. The family received regular visits, where Lewis’ Mum was able to take part in play sessions with the Coordinator and with Lewis. Lewis’ Mum said that she felt listened to and not judged. Her confidence as a Mum developed during the visits. The play sessions focused on Bookbug, drawing, crafts, outdoor play and imaginative play. Lewis and his Mum both really developed their imagination as they played together during the visits. The Coordinator also helped the family to attend a Bookbug session at their local library. Because Lewis had become familiar with Bookbug at home, the family then found it easier to go along to the library session.

The support is now drawing to a close as Lewis has started school. Mandy and Sophie said: ”The support has been a lifeline for us. We couldn’t have got through the last few months without the support and strategies provided by Home Link. The Coordinator gave us strategies to use with Lewis, and explained them in a way that we could understand and use. Lewis has really come on and is now really interested in letters and words. We were also able to take him to a group over the summer, where we made some new friends. We would not have done this without the support of Home Link. As Lewis was able to build a relationship with the Coordinator, this gave us the confidence that he could do this with other adults outside of the family.”

(Names have been changed)

Pages