Iceni support people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. The aim is to reduce the number of children removed into local authority care by providing a range of supportive programmes.
Using funding from the Suffolk Coronavirus Community Fund, Iceni purchased six iPads to enable staff to work from home more efficiently in order to provide individual and group support to clients online. Iceni ran an initial induction for the Triple P parenting group via zoom, which aims to teach participants the skills they need to make positive parenting easier. The induction was attended by 12 clients who were given an overview of the course and agreed the course structure. From 18th August, Iceni will be running the Triple P course weekly using zoom, supporting 14 clients who will be provided with tasks to complete between sessions. Iceni are also looking at ways to deliver the Freedom programme and VENTA during the coronavirus restrictions.
The situation since lockdown has been extremely challenging for clients and staff, especially as none of us quite foresaw how long it would continue. On the whole, we have been heartened by the effectiveness of the support we have been able to offer and how well many of the clients have coped.
Staff have continued working from home either by email, phone or Zoom. All counsellors who were able to do so have undertaken additional training in working electronically which meant this service was able to continue. Any new clients needing counselling were offered one to one support rather than counselling with someone they have not already established a relationship with. However, as time has dragged on, we have found it necessary to pick up on a deeper level of contact, closer to normal counselling in response to the immediate needs of the clients.
The referrals have been coming in thick and fast, especially as we got further into lockdown. We are operating a phone triage system to evaluate clients’ suitability and readiness as quickly as possible, whilst explaining to them that there would be a wait before we could undertake a full assessment. Although we try and avoid running a waiting list, this has become a necessity as all active staff members are working to capacity. We try to maintain communication with them while they are waiting so they know they have not been overlooked.
Once the assessment is completed, the majority of the work has been supportive and holding. We have a Zoom support group running once a week, but the uptake has been limited. Staff are attending meetings with other professionals electronically and offering as much contact as is possible according to needs. For some clients this has been up to three times a week, for others a brief chat has sufficed to maintain contact and progress.