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Vital service launched to help Blackburn children missing out on support during pandemic

Newground Together has teamed up with Barnardo’s to help children, young people and families in Blackburn with Darwen and Calderdale cope with the Covid-19 crisis.

Managed by Barnardo’s and funded by the Department for Education, See, Hear, Respond is a new programme offering one-to-one support and digital group support, as well as detached youth work and crisis support.

Barnardo’s is leading a coalition of over 70 charities working alongside local authorities, schools, colleges, police forces and healthcare professionals across England. Newground Together, the charitable arm of Together Housing Group, has been selected as a delivery partner in Calderdale and Blackburn with Darwen. 

A simple telephone and online referral service allows young people, their families or a professional to raise any concerns about a vulnerable child. This is then forwarded on to a local partner organisation who are best placed to offer the right support. Anyone can refer a child or young person to the service, which is free and confidential.

Nic McGrath, Communities Programme Director for Newground Together, said: “The service aims to provide a lifeline for children and young people who have experienced abuse, neglect or exploitation, those struggling with their mental health, children with additional needs, and those needing help to engage positively in a school environment. 

“Through a partnership approach we will support vulnerable children and young people that are being missed and safeguard these children early, preventing additional harm and ensuring that their needs don’t escalate to become chronic and persistent.”

Barnardo’s regional director for the North, Steve Oversby, added: “The coronavirus pandemic has meant that vulnerable children and young people have been ‘hidden’ from vital support services.

“Many have been suffering in silence and are in danger of being left behind if their needs are not met.

“That’s why Barnardo’s is leading a consortium of more than 30 charities to identify and support children at risk of harm.

“But for this to work, we need professionals – and anyone in contact with vulnerable children – to be our eyes and ears and refer those in need of help.

“Children have too often been unseen and unheard during this crisis and they risk becoming the forgotten victims.

“This initiative is a vital lifeline which will help them to navigate the pandemic and its aftermath, improving their long-term prospects so they can enjoy a successful future.”

For further information on the See, Hear and Respond service, visit www.barnardos.org.uk/see-hear-respond.

Helplines are open Monday-Friday from 9am-9pm and at weekends from 10am-6pm. Call 0800 157 7015.

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