LOCKDOWN hasn't mean a loss of care for Northumberland’s youngest residents, with services continuing throughout for many.

Since March, the council’s social work, education and partnerships teams have worked with schools and partners to ensure that none of its services suffered during lockdown, with children and young people still able to access the care they required.

Cath McEvoy-Carr, executive director of adult and children’s services, said: “It has certainly been a different way of working, but that hasn’t stopped our teams working together for the best outcomes during this difficult time.

“We have worked closely with schools, children, and their families, to encourage attendance where possible, or support home-schooling, and our social workers have continued to meet with their children and families virtually or face-to-face in line with guidance.

“We fully recognise how important the consistency of care is for many, and will do what we can to ensure it continues.”

Children and young people crave attention from their peers, and with lockdown this has been extremely difficult for many.

Children known to the council’s youth services and social care teams and those reported missing during this time have reported this much needed interaction as the reason, and our officers are working to help them process this for the benefit of their mental health and wellbeing.

All age groups have been affected by Covid-19 - even the youngest of our children, and for this reason the council’s early help and children's centre services developed a range of proactive and preventative ways to support families, including; replacing face-to-face group delivery with virtual methods, providing families of children of different age groups with a range of resources to support home education of their children, continuing support to vulnerable families, proactively identifying other potentially vulnerable families, and offering support and work with other agencies to plan to support children's emotional health needs moving forward.

In recognition of the concerns raised nationally and locally about likely challenges faced by some children and young people when returning to school full time in September, the council and partner organisations are working to ensure support is available, particularly for those children who may be anxious about that return.

An online Padlet also shares resources to help with mental health and wellbeing for all ages.

Councillor Wayne Daley, cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services, said: “Our commitment in supporting all our young people, including the most vulnerable, has continued and will continue through and beyond the pandemic.

"We continue to recognise the effects Covid-19 has had on them, and will do our utmost to support them and their families to be as safe as possible and to do as well as possible, whether this be in the short or long term.”

Support and resources can be accessed online at www.northumberland.gov.uk