Adapting our support to families affected by a parent’s alcohol dependency in Swindon

Over the past six months Adfam has been working in Swindon to support families affected by a parent’s alcohol dependency. The project we’re delivering, which runs until the end of 2020, comes in two parts:

  1. Organising activities for the non-drinking adult and children in the family, ranging from trips to the cinema, local sporting events like the ice hockey and fun workshops like learning graffiti art. By organising these activities we’re giving families an opportunity to have some fun together, make memories and have the time and space to talk with and support each other.
  2. Finding family members with lived experience of being affected by a loved one’s alcohol dependency, to volunteer as peer supporters and support other family members experiencing the same thing. Peer supporters will be given extensive training and support from Adfam to equip them the skills they need to support others.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak we’ve changed the way we’re working to ensure we continue to support families whilst abiding by new social distancing measures. Whilst current restrictions are still in place we’re delivering a monthly activity pack to our families covering a different topic each month, including coping, confidence and control. The packs are aimed at building resilience in children, with worksheets and exercises they can do to help them develop their emotional skills, alongside fun games and craft activities for the family to engage in together. The craft activities have proved to be really popular and we’ve been sent some brilliant photos of our families’ creations!

Also, from June we’ll be putting on regular online activities via Zoom that the children can get involved in, with the first session covering graffiti art and cartoon writing!

We will continue to pay close attention to and follow Government guidelines and advice on social distancing and public gatherings. When it is deemed safe and appropriate, we’ll be organising family activities at local venues in Swindon, but until then our work providing activity packs and online activities as well as on-going support for families will continue. New families can still be referred and details can be found on our website.

We are in touch with our peer supporters on the phone and using Zoom, who are currently going through some training with us before they begin supporting family members. This will initially be as a virtual group and then moved to a physical group once we are able and it is safe to do so. We still have lots of opportunities for peer supporters, so if you or someone you know has lived experience of supporting a loved one with an alcohol dependency and wants to support others through our work in Swindon, please do get in touch - details are available on our website!

COVID-19 and the lockdown has undoubtedly given us all new challenges to face, none more so than children and families affected by alcohol dependency. In Swindon we are committed to continue supporting these families and have shown that it is possible to adapt our service delivery to achieve this and help families to reach positive outcomes for themselves and their loved ones.

This blog was written by Helen Rankin, Family Support Coordinator (Swindon). Get in touch with Helen at: h.rankin@adfam.org.uk.

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