At A Better Start Southend, we want help to give every child the best possible start in life! We are learning more about Coronavirus/COVID-19 daily and as a result the government’s response is changing quickly. What we are certain of is that this situation presents a significant challenge for us all.

What is Coronavirus/COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses common across the world in animals and humans and certain types cause illnesses in people. For example, some coronaviruses cause the common cold; others cause more serious illness, which can lead to complications such as pneumonia. As COVID-19 is a new virus, the lack of immunity in the population (the natural ability of the human body to resist a particular infection or toxin) and the absence, as yet of an effective vaccine, means it has the potential to spread extensively within our communities.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of Coronavirus/COVID-19 are the recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or high temperature, and in severe cases, shortness of breath.

How to protect yourself and your family

Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.

To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.

Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.

If you have any of the symptoms above, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. This is called ‘self-isolation’. Make sure your friends or family know you are self-isolating and ask for help as needed. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation, but if your symptoms worsen during this time or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111 on the telephone. For a medical emergency dial 999.

High risk groups

The current data seems to show that we are all susceptible to catching this illness. However, at the current time and based on our understanding of what is known of COVID-19 and other similar respiratory viruses, it is likely that older people and those with chronic medical conditions may be more vulnerable to severe disease. As more information emerges, recommendations may change.

More information about at risk groups can be found at this link

Specific measures

On 16th March 2020 the UK Government issued the following additional advice;

  • Anyone with a fever or persistent cough should stay at home for 7 days if they live alone or 14 days if they live with others. Anyone who lives with someone displaying Coronavirus symptoms should also stay at home for 14 days. People who have to isolate themselves should ask others for help.
  • Everyone should stop non-essential contact with others. This is particularly important for people over 70, those with underlying health conditions and pregnant women.
  • People should work from home where they can.
  • People should avoid places like pubs, clubs and theatres. This applies especially to those in London which is a few weeks ahead of the rest of the UK.
  • People should stop all unnecessary travel.
  • By the weekend of 21st March 2020, those with the most serious health conditions should be largely shielded from social contact for 12 weeks

On 23rd March 2020 the UK Government instructed the following;

  •  People will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
    – Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
    – One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
    – Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
    – Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
  • People should not be meeting friends. If friends ask you to meet, you should say no. You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.
  • Closure of all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship.
  • An end to all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with
  • An end to all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals
  • Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed
  • People should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine – and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.
  • If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

Where to get advice

There is lots of advice online and the following links may be helpful;

We encourage parents and families who are concerned about Coronavirus/COVID-19, to gain information from Public Health England, NHS or government sources, as this is the most accurate form of information available and is updated regularly. Always check information you see on social media is from a recognised source such as those listed above.

A Better Start Southend services

ABSS funds a number of organisations and agencies to deliver services which are important to the health and wellbeing of children and parents living in the ABSS wards. We call these organisations our ‘Delivery Partners’. These are all expert organisations who have wide-ranging knowledge and experience and we trust them to deliver services to parents and children, safely and securely.

We want all of these important services to continue, but we are aware that this may not always be possible and some changes to the services may be needed. All of our Delivery Partners are looking at imaginative ways to deliver services in the best way to meet current guidance. For example, one-to-one appointments may take place over the telephone; group support meetings or training may go online.

The Delivery Partner should contact you directly to inform you of any changes to the courses, events and activities which they provide. Parents may have had contact about changes to services already.

We have also asked our Delivery Partners to keep A Better Start Southend regularly informed about changes and we will try to put information on our social media channels as quickly as we can. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Delivery Partner in the first instance, but if you have any difficulty getting the information you need about projects or services, do contact A Better Start Southend directly and we will try to assist. Please always check before you leave to attend a project or activity.

Over the coming weeks/months we will also be thinking about how we can work together to support parents and children who may be facing particular challenges at this time, so watch this space for more details.

But for now if you are struggling, reach out to friends and family and if need be to voluntary
organisations or statutory services. And of course, please do help your own friends
and family when you are able to do so safely.

You can find further guidance about how to talk to your child about COVID-19 here. Unicef has also published some helpful tips about explaining COVID-19 to your children, which you can find here.

Help your children to learn more about the Coronavirus with the Early Childhood Development Action Network’s Covibook! Why not download this resource and work through the book together with your child.

Please stay in touch with us for further updates and we wish you all well!

Phone: 01702 880370
Email: abetterstart@eyalliance.org.uk
Website: www.abetterstartsouthend.co.uk
Facebook: @abetterstartsouthend
Twitter: @ABSSouthend

Delivery Partner contacts

We take the health and safety of the families engaged in our sessions very seriously and are following the latest government guidance. Please check with the event organiser for updates and any amendments to how our services are being delivered. Contact details for A Better Start Southend service facilitators are below.

1-2-1 Breastfeeding Support Service

Julie Macdonald
Julie.Macdonald@southend.nhs.uk
07824523506

Julie Newby
julie.newby@southend.nhs.uk

Frances Royds
frances.royds2@southend.nhs.uk

Anne Marie Cheeseborough
Anna.Cheeseborough@southend.nhs.uk

3-4 Month Contact

Nikki Alderton
nicolaalderton@southend.gov.uk
01268366607 / 07826551496

Michelle Kidd
michellekidd@southend.gov.uk

SAVS – Engagement

Roger Savage
rsavage@savs-southend.co.uk

Heather Ward
turningtides@savs-southend.co.uk

Family Nurse Partnership

Tracey Scanlon
t.scanlon1@nhs.net

Claire Penn
clare.penn1@nhs.net

Bump to Breast breastfeeding groups

Syrie Cox
syriecox@southendymca.org.uk
01702 301301

Eleanor King
eleanorking@southendymca.org.uk

Alicja Pachalko
alicjapachalko@southendymca.org.uk

HENRY Healthy Families

Patrizia Pessenda-Garcia
patrizia.pessenda-garcia@henry.org.uk
07519 109875

Megan Stannett
megan.stannett@henry.org.uk
07851251519

Preparation for Parenthood

Carole Keep
carole.keep@henry.org.uk

Faye Clark
faye.clark@henry.org.uk

Lets Talk

Joanne Page
joannepage@nhs.net
01702 578607 / 07814377561

Isobel Wratislaw
i.wratislaw@nhs.net
01702 356056

Specialist Health Visitors for Perinatal Mental Health

Ros Shackleton
rosshackleton@nhs.net
01702 220 184

Hilary Hill
hilary.hill1@nhs.net

Food and Growing Project – Family Action

Main Children’s Centre contact number: 01702 220810

Kim Paterson
kim.paterson@family-action.org.uk

Nicola Marks (Centre Manager)
Nicola.Marks@family-action.org.uk

Family Support Workers for Social Communication Needs

Helen Smith-Vicary
helenvicary@southend.gov.uk
01702215991 / 07918223834

Work Skills

Amir Girnary
AmirGirnary@southend.gov.uk
01702 212743

Caroline Reynolds
CarolineReynolds@southend.gov.uk
01702 212159 / 07384 241948

Lucie Babbington
luciebabbington@southend.gov.uk
01702 534077 / 07787 273332