Outreach Project

If you feel a family could benefit from our service please use this form -  Referral Forms for outreach.doc

Please email completed forms back to toylibrary@ctlib.org.uk

or sent to Grenville House, St. Georges Square, Portsea, Portsmouth, PO1 3AZ.

The Outreach Project has supports hard to reach and vulnerable families who have been referred to us by a variety of professionals or themselves. These include:

When the Coronavirus was first announced we knew that this would bring changes to the delivery of our service so we quickly changed and adapted our working practice to ensure we could continue to support the families most at risk. The outreach team continue to work at home and are at the end of the phone for all of their families they support on a 1:1 basis. They deliver toys, resources and craft activities to the families’ doorstep, keeping to social distancing guidelines. This gives them chance to give the families something to do at such a difficult time and to actually see the families face to face. The outreach workers have continued to provide all necessary reports via telephone link into child protection meetings etc..

These families are hard to reach and it takes many phone calls, texts and home visits before initial meetings are achieved. We have found the needs are more complex including domestic abuse, substance misuse and sometimes ill health from either parent. Many families need ongoing and in-depth support for multiple issues. These families are often not able to keep appointments without regular reminders and support.

We aim to reduce isolation through visiting families in their own homes and supporting them to access their local toy library session or other service provision. This introduces families to other families living within the local area with children of similar ages allowing friendships to develop, peer support to be given, transitions into nursery and schools become less traumatic if you are moving with friends.

We provide supervision at contact visits for families. These are often in our community Toy Library sessions or in another local community place including sensory rooms of family hubs where considered more appropriate. We understand how families can break up and the child(ren) are affected and we endeavor to provide a session to support parents with confidence and parenting skills.

We have had referrals from social care for children of school age who are on care order plans and the parents require some basic parenting training with boundaries and routines. This is an age group out of our remit but we have adapted for special circumstances and on a short term basis. We also have had referrals asking us to facilitate contact between children and the non-residing parent, this has either taken place in one of our sessions, a family hub or out in the community.

The families that have been referred to our outreach service receive one to one support from their individual worker, building a good relationship. We work together with the families to develop a plan at our initial visit, working towards and reviewing this after 6 weeks or earlier if the outcome has been positive and the plan achieved. If not we plan for another 6 weeks or longer and work towards achieving these goals. By setting realistic goals the family can achieve their outcomes, thus improving their confidence levels and encouraging them to continue to become better parents. We are the only service providing this level of support ‘for as long as it takes’, and we continue to take referrals from other organisations for families that they have not had enough time with to make a real difference and recogonise the family needs on-going support which they cannot give under their funding contracts.

Some families struggle with the current benefits system and we can put them in touch with people who can advise them on this issue. We arrange appointments and accompany them too if needed. We seek advice on housing issues whether directly with the housing provider or city council to try and get some clarification for the family. Some families we can help to get a Food Bank voucher and accompany them there to pick up a food parcel to feed their family for a short period.

We support families with finding nursery placements, visits to nursery and filling out the 2 year funding forms. We help to support parents to make school applications.

Some families need help to attend hospital appointments as they are very isolated, nervous and anxious. We help support them get to the appointment and take in information they may not remember or understand.

We have a large number of families receiving outreach support who have children with disabilities who we sign up to our toy store. From there they can choose toys and equipment to borrow for their children and have them delivered free of charge or dropped off when their outreach worker visits. The initial loan is for a period of 6 weeks which can be extended on request. Toys can be exchanged more frequently if desired.

We also help families fill out forms to do with Personal Independent Payments and understand how it works.

We have many asylum seekers being referred to us. We offer them support to access their local Toy Library session which encourages friendship groups and builds confidence. We help the families seek ESOL courses to help with their English and understand the development of their children. We help the family to source essential items such as clothes, bedding and furniture etc. We have introduced families to another family of the same ethnicity and language, this helps with language barriers and establishes friendships.

We continue to see the difference our outreach project makes to the families we support. Being able to give families support on a 1:1 basis with a dedicated worker ensures we are able to build good, strong relationships with the families. A few of these parents have gone on to become volunteers within our service wanting to give back to other families the support they received, understanding what a difference it made.