Whilst lockdown posed a challenge for the team at our Vulnerable Families Project in Caerphilly, the support has not stopped - only adapted - to ensure that the young people and their babies thrive, despite the circumstances.
Pobl Support Worker Natalie Jones has been determined to keep the four young Mums at the service on track and has enjoyed getting creative with their daily support sessions.
“My aim has been to keep their spirits up, whilst helping them to learn and progress through fun and practical activities.” Natalie Jones
The imaginative and creative ways that Natalie has supported the young people really is impressive. There have been games like “benefits bingo” which helped to identify the benefits available and how to claim them.
There has also been a shopping competition where they were given a shopping list full of ingredients, which they could use to make meals. The Mums then had to scour the web for the best prices – the lowest cost at the end won.
Another project Natalie worked on was something she called “tenancy aliens”, which got the Mums thinking about the hurdles they could come across on a tenancy journey and how they could overcome them. Natalie says, “They each had an alien to start with and I gave them a scenario, for example living in a B&B and looking to move into a property. Each week a problem would arise and they’d need to find a solution to help the alien.”
“The clients really embraced this project, as it was a fun and unusual way for them to show their knowledge and let me know how far along they were with their understanding.” Natalie Jones
As well as going through practical activities like cleaning, cooking and health and safety, Natalie has also been focussing on their wellbeing. She says, “We made some stress relief objects using play dough in a balloon. We made the dough from scratch and the Mums found it to be relaxing for both them and their babies.”
“They have a lot going on and I wanted to give them time to reflect and release some anxiety about the situations they have no control over.” Natalie Jones
Alongside this, during a session about feelings and relationships, Natalie suggested that they could make a “Pobl Tree of Positivity”.
She explains, “We decided that a tree is a good, solid symbol of Pobl’s values – positive, connected and considerate – so we wanted the tree to be a place to reflect, to dream and to think.
“Somewhere to feel positive, smile and know you’re not alone.”
Natalie adds, “The tree, with its many branches is a reminder to us – if we hold each other up, we can grow and not allow one another to fall.”
With all of this going on, it’s no surprise that the Mums have reacted positively – even in a challenging situation like lockdown.
Natalie says, “I’m impressed with how they have adhered to the changes. It’s a worrying time and they have their own personal challenges on top, but they have consistently participated in every session and they have kept on top of everything tenancy related. I hope they are proud of themselves.”
Here at Pobl we are very proud of the Mums – but were incredibly proud of Natalie too, who has worked so hard to provide support in difficult circumstances.