Covid-19: Our Response

As a small charity that supports young women from difficult backgrounds, we understand the anxieties that both our service users and partners within our sector have been experiencing as a result of Covid-19.

 

The systemic closure of health and social services since the arrival of this disease has served to further increase the many challenges faced by socially disadvantaged groups / the women we engage with and so it is through our unwavering commitment to helping young women and girls develop mental wellbeing, build resilience and ultimately recover from their negative experiences of the care system that we have put in place / sought to provide a number of resources that are specifically geared towards their continued growth in light of this unprecedented situation.

 

Our Covid-19 Holistic Support Programme was an immediate and comprehensive response to the crisis, with the aim of supporting the essential needs of our sisters during the pandemic, ensuring no care-affected girl is left behind or put at further risk.

The programme provides emergency food, hygiene and sanitary baskets which can be delivered for those at risk or who may be shielding on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Peer2Peer mentoring supports sisters’ well-being and provides a positive peer network, reducing isolation and providing a ‘professional friend’.

These interactions aim to fuel and foster a positive mind-set, increase resilience and reduce the risk of becoming victims of mental deterioration, economic deprivation and coercion into crime. 

Our community based workshops such as ‘Walk ‘n’ Talk’ and outdoor fitness sessions with a focus on non-contact boxing and yoga provide a Covid-19 safe and appropriate socialising opportunity whilst keeping sisters fit and well.

 

But we could not have done this alone and are grateful to our partners with whom we work closely and who have continued to support us in our mission to deliver outstanding support to young women and girls who remain at risk of neglect, exploitation, and violence in all its forms. 

 

Central to Sister System’s approach is our Theory of Change model which you can read about here.

The government’s current Covid-19 roadmap* outlines the key dates at which England will be expected to come out of its current lockdown phase.  although with data constantly under review, these dates may be subject to change. 

Covid-19: Updates

April 2020

 

Our service users have been devastated by Covid-19. We have seen our disenfranchised, care-affected young women unable to meet their basic needs. They have seen their jobs disappear and their essential support services closing. On top of this they are isolated, scared and unable to meet  their emotional and  mental needs. We have delivered food, hygiene products, increased 1:1’s, added programmes and sessions to our offer and signposted them to local support services. For those in school, their core safety, support and opportunity to have a hot meal and sustain engagement with other services disappeared. For those not in school many have experienced diminished support as key workers self-isolate. Demand for Sister System support has increased quickly. 

 

These girls are now at heightened risk of exploitation. Many have been forced to return to unsafe homes or relationships in an urgent attempt to stay safe. Some have taken on carer responsibilities, even sleeping on floors.Their already fragile mental and emotional well-being is unable to manage this situation. We have moved accredited courses to an online delivery model and kept over 47 young women engaged in their educational and support programmes with us.

April-July  2020

 

Sister System's fantastic team rose to the occasion to support both the pre-Covid existing service users' needs, and the new urgent demand for our service. Having been awarded emergency funding form Haringey Giving, the FORE Raft fund, the London Community Response, Bridge Trust, The National lottery, Feminist review and Rosa, alongside the incredibly generous donations of the public via our Crowdfunding page, we mobilised an outstanding response to ensure that no girl that is working with Sister System was or will be left behind because of Covid-19.  

During the first lock-down we were immensely proud to have risen to the challenge with many staff taking on additional and voluntary work to ensure that these young women were supported and looked after:  

 

 Rapidly responding to the urgent new needs of existing and new referrals of up to 99 care-affected young women in Haringey & Enfield, we are proud to have delivered an additional 2,363 of direct contact comprising of:

 

  • 700 additional therapeutic mentoring sessions

  • 480 requests for emergency food and hygiene support with 168 basket drop offs across 3 months of lockdown and further collections once our office re-opened, and we continue to deliver to those who are shielding and/or are unable to leave their homes. 

  • 40 virtual high risk safeguarding panel meetings 

  • An additional 98 remote resilience workshops to our vulnerable young women with an additional 768 hours of collating and delivering food & hygiene baskets,

  • 113 meetings and 164 peer led interventions. 

  • Continued payments to 4 of our Big Sisters. 


 

July-August  2020

Once our offices re-opened in July and following the NYA risk assessments and guidance we then moved back to some face to face delivery whilst still supporting our sisters that are shielding and/or were unable to get to our Head Office for a plethora of reasons. We are currently an NYA amber service provider and as such are delighted to be able to welcome our sisters back. Turnout was high with up to 20 young women wanting to attend, and with the donation of PPE and flexibility of use of space both in and outside our building, we ensured we kept everyone safe without having to turn anyone away. 

 

 

September 2020

 

We continue to run our pre-covid programmes funded by the Postcode Lottery. We have been able to continue to  supply food and hygiene baskets, weekly peer2peer sessions, weekly therapeutic mentoring sessions and with the additional funds are running the Sisterhood programme and a host of additional soiree drop in sessions. Our Big sisters have amongst other things launched book clubs, transition clubs, support me now and supported each other in creative and dynamic ways.

 

We have identified the need for an entirely new programme ‘honour thyself’ which we will launch alongside our education partner OCN. 

 

We would like to thank all our volunteers, funders, our board, our statutory and community partners for their continued support and most of all the sisters themselves who at a time of great uncertainty came together and maintained our community. 

 

We are currently a NYA approved provision on Amber and adhere to both NYA guidance and that of our office building landlords, the Trampery. 

 

With another 6 months of restrictions ahead of us and a long cold winter we are preparing to continue the vital work of Sister System within these unprecedented times.

We are committed and dedicated to ensuring that this pandemic will not adversely affect some of our communities most vulnerable young women.

 

We are the big sisters they never had.

Covid-19: Our Response

As a small charity that supports young women from difficult backgrounds, we understand the complex needs and challenges that both our service users and partners within our sector have been experiencing as a result of Covid-19.

 

The systemic closure of health, education and social services since the arrival of this disease has served to further increase the many challenges faced by socially disadvantaged groups which includes the women we engage with and so it is through our unwavering commitment to helping young women and girls develop mental wellbeing, build resilience and ultimately recover from their negative experiences of the care system compounded by the impact of Covid-19 that we have sought to provide a number of resources that are specifically geared towards their continued growth in light of this unprecedented situation.

 

Our Covid-19 Holistic Support Programme was an immediate and comprehensive response to the crisis, with the aim of supporting the essential needs of our sisters during the pandemic, ensuring no care-affected girl is left behind or put at further risk.

The programme provides emergency food, hygiene and sanitary baskets which can be delivered for those at risk or who may be shielding on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Peer2Peer mentoring supports sisters’ well-being and provides a positive peer network, reducing isolation and providing a ‘professional friend’.

These interactions aim to fuel and foster a positive mind-set, increase resilience and reduce the risk of becoming victims of mental deterioration, economic deprivation and coercion into crime. 

Our community based workshops such as ‘Walk ‘n’ Talk’ and outdoor fitness sessions with a focus on non-contact boxing and yoga provide a Covid-19 safe and appropriate socialising opportunity whilst keeping sisters fit and well.

If you or somebody you know of could benefit from this programmes, please get in contract here. (link) 

 

But we could not have done this alone and are grateful to our partners with whom we work closely and who have continued to support us in our mission to deliver outstanding support to young women and girls who remain at risk of neglect, exploitation, and violence in all its forms. 

(add to end?)

 

Central to Sister System’s approach is our Theory of Change model which takes our sisters through a journey of enhancing her mental and emotional resilience in order to enable socio-economic mobility and personal empowerment measured through 'I feel', 'I can', 'I am', 'I do'.


 You can read more about our Theory of Change model here.

Covid-19 ROADMAP

The government’s current Covid-19 roadmap* outlines the key dates at which England will be expected to come out of its current lockdown phase.

For many people, the lifting of lockdown measures means businesses can reopen, families can meet and friends can re-establish relationships, but for some of our young women, the process of recovery is a complex one and deserves a bespoke / personalised response

 *Note: With data constantly under review, these dates may be subject to change. 

Sister System's Covid-19 Roadmap 

Commitment to working collaboratively with statutory, not-for-profits and our partners to meet the needs of our community

Health and Wellbeing - meal and emotional recovery 

 

Educational Attainment - pathways to education and employment, finance, emerging industries, digital skills

Healthy relationships - providing safe spaces, community hub, develop personal and professional relationships, new dependencies, disrupt VWAG, online and social media

Covid-19: Updates

Loading...