One year into the pandemic: The impact you’ve made

Tuesday 23 March 2021
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Here we share four true stories of the impact we’ve been able to make in the midst of adversity, thanks to your support

It’s been a year since the UK went into lockdown. It’s been especially difficult for vulnerable children across the UK.

For the last 12 months, our frontline staff haven’t stopped. 99% of our services have been open, whether in-person or online. We’ve continued to be a vital lifeline for the children and families we support.

With your support, we’ve been able to be there for so many children and families whose lives were plunged into chaos by the pandemic. Since March 2020 our Coronavirus Emergency Fund has helped 20,000 children and young people.

Read on for four ways we’ve been helping during these difficult past 12 months.

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Helping put food on the table

Kim lives with her partner and their three-year-old daughter, Molly, who has sensory issues. Action for Children has been supporting Molly since she was little, helping her family to understand her disabilities.

The family had always managed financially. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Kim’s partners hours were halved resulting in less income. Kim said: "My partner is a worker, he would sometimes do up to seven days a week. He delivers cookers and big housing appliances, but [during lockdown] obviously people don’t want you coming into your home, so he isn’t needed as much now.

Suddenly we are having to really worry about rent, council tax, bills on top of everything else. My daughter is so little so thankfully she doesn’t need to understand.


Kim was told about the Action for Children emergency fund by her Action for Children family support key worker. She was offered help to ensure the family could continue to put food on the table and Molly could keep learning. Kim said: “At first, I didn’t want to accept. But then I didn’t want Molly to struggle.

Kim said, “We have to take it day by day, but I don’t like to think where we’d be if we hadn’t accepted the support.”

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Providing the bare essentials

Iona, 11, lives with her family in a remote area of Scotland. Her mum, Pauline, has mental health issues and her youngest brother, Angus, has behavioural challenges. With her father working away from home as a commercial driver, Iona supports her family by helping around the house with chores.

With coronavirus sending the country into lockdown, Pauline and her family were faced with new challenges. 

We couldn’t get to the supermarket, so we were having to go to the local shop. With everyone wiping the shelves, there wasn’t any affordable essentials left. For example, our budget would allow for the cheapest pasta, but because of the situation there was only the expensive stuff left.


When our emergency fund became available, Pauline’s family support worker applied to Action for Children on their behalf.

Pauline said: “When we got the call, honestly we were so excited. We got £200 and that meant we could get fuel to go to the shop. We were also able to get a big food shop to get food on the table."

“We are on our own and having that support from Action for Children, I can’t put into words how grateful I am."


Supporting children with disabilities

Jennifer is a stay-at-home mum to her two sons. Stanley has POTS, (a condition which leads to an abnormal increase in his heart rate when sitting or standing,) and has a heart monitor in his chest. Nathan has NDD (Neuro Development Delay) which significantly affects his emotional and behavioural maturity.

Jennifer has used our Bristol Action Breaks service for respite care and received help from our Coronavirus Children's Appeal.

I’d had foodbank vouchers, but I couldn’t leave the house to get there, and I was becoming more and more stressed, not thinking properly. I was muddling through like a robot, too frightened to leave the house in case I brought something back and made the kids ill. I’d never forgive myself if something happened to them.


Jennifer said, "We’d been in self-isolation for nearly two weeks, my eldest son Stan has a weak immune system because of his heart condition. I was literally at the stage where I didn’t know what I was going to do. I am so incredibly grateful for the help I received from Action for Children’s emergency fund."


Helping keep the lights on

Nikki and Adam have four daughters all under the age of 10. Adam, 30, was diagnosed with osteoarthritis during their pregnancy with their youngest daughter Carly, now two years old, leaving him unable to work. Nikki had to quit her job to support the family full-time.

The family quickly adjusted to these changes and had become financially stable. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, they had been receiving support from Action for Children for their eldest daughter who had been helping to care for her younger siblings.

However, Nikki's family was thrown into disarray when Coronavirus sent the UK went into lockdown.

When the family's support worker realised the struggles they were facing, she applied for the emergency fund on their behalf.

I was just so overwhelmed. It was amazing to know there was that support all the time.


Nikki said: “I got a message from our support worker saying she had been granted £250 to help us with the electric bills, food shops and fuel. It was so overwhelming when I got it. I remember reading the message and I just broke down.”

We know that with sustained support for children in crisis, we can stop the pandemic scarring a generation of children.

Together we can End Childhood Crisis.

End Childhood Crisis

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