New Wandsworth KidsTime thrives despite lockdown

This week, Kathryn Ferguson, Wandsworth KidsTime Coordinator shared some good news with us.

We were so delighted to share our first review recently of Wandsworth KidsTime Workshop, which launched in February 2020. The workshops came about as a joint venture between Woking Close Family Centre and Our Time Charity – who have been running such workshops for over 20 years. Woking Close was keen to find a way to support families where a parent has a mental illness, so in April 2019, Kathryn Ferguson from Woking Close approached Our Time to talk about setting up a workshop. This began a process, supported by Paul Angeli, Assistant Director of Children and Families, and a steering group from across the borough, to set up a workshop in Wandsworth.

Our Time provided a huge amount of essential help in obtaining additional funding and recruiting drama leads to support the workshops. The workshop lead, Sarah Abbott, and a team of volunteers were recruited through Wandsworth and Woking Close. The steering group worked hard to promote the workshops across Children’s Services and Education.

The workshops aim to provide whole family support for parents and children who are affected by parental mental illness. The workshops are fun, monthly events for families, where children can explore topics related to living with a parent with mental illness through games and drama, while parents and carers are able to meet others in similar situations, share experiences and encourage one another.

We launched our first workshop in February 2020 and held two workshops before restrictions related to the Coronavirus pandemic meant that we could no longer meet. However, since the lockdown which began in March 2020, we have managed to continue supporting families through weekly bulletins from Our Time, and online virtual workshops.

Five families have continued to take part in the virtual workshops and Our Time provided a tablet for one family to enable them to join in. A highlight from this period of lockdown has been creating video “time capsules” of the children’s lives, with their contributions. For now, we continue with our lockdown virtual workshops, but we are all really looking forward to one day being able to go back to real-life workshops, with the relationships, conversations and pizza!

Some key statistics from the report:

  • 7 sessions delivered (2 x monthly KidsTime Workshops & 5 x fortnightly KidsTime Zoom sessions during lockdown).
  • 10 families and 16 CYP engaged in total – meeting our Y1 target!
  • 6 families attended the first KidsTime Workshop in February; 7 families attended the second workshop in March.  
  • Decreased engagement in lockdown, which is to be expected due to the additional pressures facing families at the moment, however, a core group of 4-5 families is regularly participating in the KidsTime Zoom sessions. 
  • 60% of families have attended more than one session.  
  • 30% of families have attended five out of six sessions.