The Family Directory

Dedicated support for families affected by COVID-19

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The past 18 months have tested families in unprecedented ways.

For many, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated hardships that already existed. For others, it pushed them into hardship they never would have expected.

Amid the crisis, Barnardo's Isle of Wight Family Centres have continued to provide essential support to those who need it most, making a real difference to people's lives. 

Now new funding, secured from the Department for Education's COVID-19 Regional Recovery and Building Back Better Fund by the Isle of Wight Council's children's services team, will bolster that vital aid.

Totalling £160,000, the money is being used to recruit COVID response workers to assist local families affected by the pandemic, helping to prevent their issues or problems from getting worse.

Councillor Debbie Andre, Cabinet member for children's services, explained: "We know that providing early support to families is an essential part of the services that we provide. This has become even more vital as a result of the pandemic with many families needing extra help and support.

"Having visited the Family Centres recently, I have seen first hand the wide range of help and support that is available.

"I’m delighted that the additional funding that we have received will be making a real difference to our Island families and young people and would like to thank our Barnardo’s Family Centre staff for providing such a high quality service to island residents, so much so that it’s being shared across the South East as a shining example of best practice.”

Barnardo's are commissioned by the council to provide a wide range of services to families with children aged between 0-19 years, such as information, guidance, signposting and parenting support.

Throughout the pandemic, Family Centre hubs remained opened, enabling invaluable services such as maternity and health visitor appointments to continue to be offered to Island families face to face.

The charity’s intensive family support workers also continued to assist families throughout lockdown by swapping regular home support visits to offering regular support via phone, Zoom or Whatsapp.

Between April 2020 and March 2021, the Family Centre workforce across the Isle of Wight provided:

  • 356 families with intensive family support;
  • 2,658 sessions of family activities;
  • £4,330 in emergency food vouchers for 119 families and 79 Christmas Foodbank Hampers;
  • 42 laptops and ten mobile phones to address digital exclusion;
  • 26 children's mental health support packs, 250 IKEA wellbeing boxes and 200 Pokémon sets.

Not only that, 99 per cent of adults and 100 per cent of children were satisfied with the service they received.

Laura Groves, children's service manager at Barnardo's, said: "Barnardo’s are delighted with the opportunity to work with even more families on the island who are facing additional challenges as a result of the pandemic.

"Our teams worked tirelessly throughout this time to provide vital support and we adapted our ways of working to make sure we were able to reach those who needed our help.

"This new funding will mean that we can support more families to manage issues at an earlier stage and prevent them from escalating into bigger problems.”  

For further information about the support available, visit the Facebook page (Isle of Wight Family Centres), call (01983) 529208/(01983) 617617, visit: or email:  


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