Magic Mums: fighting back against feelings of isolation

Along with running in-house sessions three days a week, term-time, our Magic Mums team delivers daily support throughout the year, including holidays when our in-house services are closed. That put us in a good position to adapt our support for lockdown. We established WhatsApp support groups between mums, we’ve been running twice-weekly Microsoft Teams group video calls, we’ve been making daily ‘Care Calls’ to mums needing more individual support and we’ve been making socially-distanced visits to mums who have felt more isolated during lockdown.

The support we’ve given has included helping to make doctors’ appointments, purchasing essentials like nappies, baby wipes and even a mattress for a mum who had a fire in her flat, setting up ‘support bubbles’ between our mums to help break down feelings of isolation and giving free places at our P3 Summer Play Centre to families needing respite.

While the support we’ve given has been a lifeline for many of our mums, they have still found the lockdown incredibly difficult. Many lack private outside space, they live in cramped accommodation and all have small children (and many have older children as well). The closure of schools and the cessation of support offered through afterschool activities has made it a long few months for our mums.

Face-to-face support

With this in mind, we’re planning to resume face-to-face, in-house support sessions from September, adapting our usual approach to ensure we’re following COVID-Safe guidance. This will mean smaller groups, booked sessions (rather than drop-ins), a change to the set-up and availability of certain play equipment and emphasis on cleaning and hand washing.

We’ll continue our online support to ensure we’re still reaching mums who may not feel comfortable leaving home. This will include weekly, online mindfulness and meditation sessions. We will also continue our Care Calls and one-to-one sessions for mums needing more support.

A different approach

Sarah*, one of our long-standing members, made contact with Social Services because the lockdown and closure of schools left her feeling isolated and with a low mood. She also reached out to Magic Mums for support.

Social Services said that her mood caused them concern for her children and they began treating her case as a crisis, causing intense anxiety for Sarah and having the exact result that she feared.

Magic Mums arranged for Sarah to meet (safely) with another mum for a twice-weekly walk around Wormwood Scrubs to give her much needed face-to-face social contact, structure and an excuse to leave her flat. After only three weeks, Sarah built up the confidence to leave her flat every day and has even started going to the shops, going on solo walks and taking her children on picnics.

*name changed to protect privacy

24th August 2020