Blue Smile is a children's mental health charity. We usually work in schools across Cambridgeshire and the surrounding area, providing one to one expert therapy to children aged 3-13 years. All the therapy we provide is based on the arts and play - the easiest way for children to express their feelings. Almost half (47%) of the children we help have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, and 57% are recognised as disadvantaged. In term time we usually help around 200 children every week.
Of course, these are not usual times...
The Coronavirus crisis has caused our work in schools to come to an abrupt halt. For the children we were helping - those experiencing difficulties such as severe anxiety, low self-esteem, eating problems and the effects of trauma - this is very challenging. We have swung into action to provide remote support by telephone and online, and have distributed 185 therapeutic art packs so that children know we have not forgotten them. We don't know how long we will need to continue to work in this way so day by day we are working hard to come up with new ideas to help children in the East of England.
Children will need us more than ever in the months to come
Sadly, we are anticipating a big increase in demand for our support. Children will have been affected by not having their usual routines and sources of support such as teachers, Special Needs Coordinators and Blue Smile therapists. Some will sadly have been bereaved by Coronavirus, some children will be living in households when Mum or Dad has lost their job, and some will be extremely fearful of the virus or losing a loved one.
Some children have expressed their worries and questions related to Coronavirus in this BBC film from 24 May 2020.
Your support will change young lives
With your support, Blue Smile is determined to be there for every child that needs us. We may be able to go back into schools in the autumn to help individual children and provide support to groups of children too. If we aren't able to go in, we may be able to offer a telephone mentoring service to teachers so they can help vulnerable children in their care. We could continue our current telephone service where we are supporting children and their parents/carers by phone. We may be able to also offer ongoing online support to some children.
This is what a fund of £5,000 could achieve:
- It could enable us to provide 221 face to face therapy sessions for children in autumn term 2020.
- It could enable us to provide 600 'keeping in touch' telephone calls to parents and children who we were previously seeing in face to face therapy.
- It could provide 30 school staff with fortnightly telephone mentoring sessions (210 sessions in total) in autumn term 2020.
Whichever way we do it, we will help children come to terms with their emotions, recover from their experiences, and grow stronger - equipping them for the years ahead. This will be thanks to you, and to your kindness and generosity.
Thank you for helping vulnerable children!