Appeal goes out for laptops to allow Banburyshire children with a parent in prison to keep in touch with mentors

A charity that pairs volunteer mentors with children who have a parent in prison has appealed for spare laptops to allow the valuable contact to continue.

By Roseanne Edwards
Monday, 13th April 2020, 3:02 pm
Updated Monday, 13th April 2020, 3:04 pm
The charity Children Seen and Heard needs laptops to help mentors stay in touch with the children they help
The charity Children Seen and Heard needs laptops to help mentors stay in touch with the children they help

Children Heard and Seen was the subject of a Banbury Guardian special report last October when the charity was appealing for more mentors in the Banbury area to pair with children who have a parent in prison.

The mentors spend time with the children once a week, listening to them, talking to them, offering help and inspiring them.

Now lockdown means they cannot meet in person the charity is appealing for laptops so the mentors and children can keep up their contact at a time when it is needed more than ever.

Children Heard and Seen spokesman Caro Stacy said: "Our service delivery has had to change as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, with our services now being delivered online. We are currently supporting many of the families via Zoom with group work and one to one work.

"Many of the vulnerable people we support have little or no access the internet, or the technology to access online services. This makes providing online support extremely difficult and this is particularly noticeable for the families who live with grandparents. These are the families that we are most concerned about and are the ones that are the most isolated and vulnerable.

"It is really important that the children we work with still feel they have a safe space to explore their feelings and have the opportunity to discuss how to process and manage their feelings. Without sufficient access, these children are also unable to access school work and risk falling behind. We want to make sure that these children and their parent/grandparent remain connected."

Ms Stacy said the organisation is looking for second hand laptops or tablets. Of the 26 needed, they have had donations of six.

"We are offering doorstep pick-up and delivery in Oxfordshire and Berkshire and have some IT wizards who can erase all information from the hard drive. In addition to this, we have also launched a fundraising appeal to provide data and internet access for the most vulnerable families.

You can find out more about Children Heard and Seen here where there is a link to a donation page. By donating to this campaign, you would help the charity to provide emotional and educational support for children facing an even greater sense of social isolation at this difficult time.

Anyone with a laptop to donate should contact [email protected]