Category Archive Coronavirus

Dandelion Time

At Dandelion Time we have maintained telephone contact with all our families we have worked with since September 2019, to assess vulnerability and need. Where necessary we are supporting by phone and signposting to additional support services and liaising with other professionals involved in the family.
Other support we are providing includes;

Sending out activity packs to all the children which includes seeds to grow, recipes, craft material etc.

Delivering food parcels to families struggling financially.

Making application for Hardship grants for families where appropriate. We are delighted that a number of families have now benefitted from grants.

Directing families to our virtual Hub on website where there are recipes, craft activities and virtual visits to the animals.

Providing bespoke therapeutic sessions for individual families which involves visiting the garden, woods and animals in outdoor space after careful risk assessment.

We are seeing that some families are coping well but others are struggling particularly where there are parental mental health difficulties and where children are on the autistic spectrum.
  Some of the most vulnerable children who should be in school are not attending due to parental anxiety about covid but also schools not having capacity and prioritising the children of key workers. We are also seeing an increase in domestic abuse. We believe that once lockdown lifts we will start to see the real impact of social isolation on vulnerable families with increased educational disadvantage and emotional trauma.

We want to let everyone know that we are open and accepting referrals.

Dandelion Time has received funding from the Police Commissioner’s fund to support children and families who have been victims of domestic abuse. We are welcoming referrals for families, with past experience of domestic abuse, who are beginning to rebuild their lives. Our aim is to help families recover from their trauma, have the time and space to trust again and to build relationships through our unique, therapeutic programme in the natural environment. to find out more click here for more information.

Stay Alert Stay Safe

Coping with Life courses

Coping with Life courses at Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind will no longer be delivered as face-to-face support groups, due to current government guidance which is available surrounding the current COVID-19 outbreak. This means that timetabled dates and times for Coping with Life courses are subject to change – although we are making every effort to continue to offer this support digitally.

To access a course, you must be registered with Live Well Kent. This can be done by completing an easy online referral form. 

How will this affect me if I am already booked onto one of your Coping with Life courses?

If you are already booked onto one of our Coping with Life courses, then your course will still go ahead. The dates and times of the delivery for this programme may change, however, and the programme will be delivered digitally as opposed to in a face-to-face format. This means that you will be able to access the course from the comfort of your own home – but you will need to have a device with internet connectivity in order to ensure that you can access the course sessions.

You will also need to have our digital conferencing tool – ZOOM – installed, in order to be able to take part in the conference call. You can install this when first attempting to join your session, but if you would like to install the programme ahead of time, you can do so by clicking here, instead. 

What if I want to access services during this period but am not already registered with your service?

We will be continuing to offer New-To-Mind appointments during this period, but they will take place via the telephone or through a digital medium like ZOOM. In order to get in touch and book a New-To-Mind appointment, you can do so by calling one of the two main contact numbers found on this webpage, or by e-mailing

Remote Access To Community Activity Groups

Due to the closure of their buidling Maidstone Mind will be conducting their activity groups online via zoom.

Weekly sessions will change to accommodate sessions which we are able to deliver remotely. Gardening, Singing and Walking groups will be suspended. This means that there will be no community support groups on Monday or Friday, with Wellbeing Calls being offered instead. These ten minute phone calls will provide you with an opportunity to check in with a Wellbeing Worker and have a conversation – something which we feel is crucial in tackling the isolation and loneliness which can become prevalent at times like this.

Please see the website here for more information

Digital Maidstone Youth Wellbeing Cafe

Our Wednesday evening Maidstone Youth Wellbeing Cafe will be suspended due to current guidance around the COVID-19 outbreak.

We are working on developing a Digital Chatroom which will be accessible for young people during this period, providing them with access to a moderated safe space where they can seek peer support.

As of June, or Youth Wellbeing Cafe will take the format of a ZOOM room where young people can take part in a Quiz and other online activities facilitated by our Wellbeing Workers. Click here for more information.

At a loss

GriefChat was created by bereavement experts. By visiting the At a Loss website, you can chat live to a specially trained bereavement counsellor. GriefChat is a completely free service and is available Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm.
See the At a Loss website for more information. 

Bounce back

MMK Mind are offering FREE spaces on our Virtual emotional resilience course, Bounce Back, thanks to generous funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.

Bounce Back is a 6 week, youth emotional resilience course for ages 11-18.

The course teaches young people how they can combat stress, deal with emotions and reduce anxiety so they can ‘bounce back’ from the challenges they face in life.

The course includes:

An introduction to emotional resilience, get to know you games and activities

Identifying support networks and understanding the importance of having a support network

Understanding anxiety and how it can impact on you

Understanding stress and how to tackle it

The impact of relaxation on wellbeing & de-stress techniques

Understanding decision making and how to make emotionally intelligent decisions

For more details, you can e-mail

Alternatively, you can visit this webpage:

Youth Recovery Action Plans

MMK Mind have more spaces available for free one-to-one support which young people may benefit from. These sessions begin on the 3rd of June – and will be available without charge thanks to funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.
Youth Recovery Action Plans are designed to offer 1 To 1 Youth Support to young people who may benefit more from individual support instead of group-based activities.
The Recovery Action Plan (RAP) has been designed to allow individuals to take a holistic look at their life and identify areas where they can act to help their wellbeing.
RAPS are tailored specifically for people who may benefit from support in a more one-to-one environment. With the support of a Wellbeing Worker, young people can set realistic, timely goals in areas of need.
For more details, and to book a space for your young person, please visit

We are with you

We Are Here With You can support young people and families during the lockdown and beyond

Parent Partnership Programme

Parents and families Our Parent Partnership Programme has never been busier and we are supporting lots of families across Kent during this concerning time. Families can call for ‘drop in’ style support or refer for scheduled sessions on 01795 500881 We Are With You also have a webchat where YP or families can get help and advice online support instantly if they are worried about their own or someone else’s drinking or drug use or their mental health. This can be found at

Lockdown Projects

The Kent We Are With You team have collaborated with the UK harm reduction group ‘Drugs and me’ to produce this guide to withdrawal. This was made bearing in mind the

potential for involuntary withdrawal during the pandemic and has information which could be applicable for adolescents and adults so please read and distribute as appropriate. A guide found here.

COVID-19 Podcast

Covid-19 Mini-Podcast This podcast is approx 7 mins in length and we made it for adolescents and young adults who use substances and alcohol. It offers reflections on some of the harm reduction measures that must be taken to avoid the spread of the virus as well as practical elements of how drug and alcohol use is affected by lockdown. It has been shared widely nationally – Listen here

10 Tips for Looking after your Mental Health during Covid-19 from MMK Mind

In honour of Mental Health Awareness week (18-24 May) Maidstone and Mid Kent mind have put together 10 tips for looking after your Mental Health during Covid-19: 

  1. Take the time to appreciate outdoor spaces if you can
  2. Remember the benefits that home exercising can have
  3. Keep in touch with friends and family
  4. Look after your physical health
  5. Make sure to take time to relax
  6. Make sure you are getting enough sleep
  7. Try new activities to keep yourself occupied
  8. Try to reduce your exposure to triggering content
  9. Set an alarm for a sense of routine
  10. Think about the things that make you feel good

For more information about Mental health, what mental health problems are, what may cause them, and the many different kinds of help, treatment and support that are available, please visit the Mind website which also provides guidance on where to find more information, and tips for friends and family.

Funeral standards for Kent and Medway

The Kent and Medway Funeral Standards have been developed to provide to loved ones the assurance that the marking of life will take place with respect, dignity and compassion and to do so while minimising the risk of spread of infection. 

click on the link here which offers some resources around bereavement and finance.

Being parents first

At Relate, we are continuing to provide relationship support for parents. Things look a little different now, our counsellors are supporting parents through phone, live chat and video and our service continues. Now more than ever, families are under pressure. Our relate counsellors can work with service users who are parents, either post release, or support the co-parent in the community whilst awaiting release.

We work with parents together or apart, to help them improve their communication and work towards how they would like things to be.

If you would like to find out more please see the attached leaflet or contact us via phone 0300 003 0270 or email

Kooth Service

Free, Safe and Anonymous Online Support for Young People in Kent

 A mental health and wellbeing online platform for young people has been extended for all young people across Kent.

As part of the Headstart Kent Programme, the Kooth digital mental health support service has already given one in five young people, aged 10 to16, easy access to an online community of peers and a team of experienced counsellors.

The service is free and can be accessed at It’s a place to get advice, information and support 24/7. You can chat to a friendly qualified counsellor Monday to Friday between 12pm and 10pm and Saturday and Sunday between 6pm and 10pm.

The service is funded by Headstart Kent on behalf of the National Lottery Community Fund, NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and Kent County Council’s Public Health Grant.

Porchlight Aspirations

Our Aspirations team is continuing to provide support while adapting the way we work to follow the latest official advice and guidance.

If you are currently being supported by Aspirations, we will be in touch with more information about how we can continue to support you. If you have any questions about our support or need to speak to someone about Aspirations you can call us on 0333 880 2730.

We are still accepting referrals so if you need support or need to refer someone you can call us on 0333 880 2730 or fill in our contact form.

Grandparents Plus Support and Resources

Our Advice Service helps kinship carers in crisis to make difficult decisions. Our experienced advisers help kinship carers with their questions on benefits, employment, housing, education, grant applications – and often a shoulder to cry on too.
Grandparents Plus connect carers together in their national community and network of local support groups, so they don’t have to face the fight alone. Click here for more information

Maidstone Mind vitual courses for young people

Managing Me Virtual Support for Young People

Managing Me is a 6-week course specifically designed for young people aged 11-18 to learn how to cope with life. The course focus on dealing with stress, anxiety, depression and self-image. Our current Managing Me Dates are funded through both The National Lottery and Children in Need – providing individuals with the chance to access these courses for free. Go here for more information.

Taming my temper

Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind (MMKM) are pleased to share that the Peter Harrison Foundation have generously funded our next Taming My Temper course, meaning that this course will be available for free to young people who may benefit from this support.

Taming My Temper is a 6-week course dealing with anger management specifically designed for young people that may have issues controlling their emotions and want to reduce the levels of anger and hostility that they display.

This course, which starts on the 4th of June, looks at the causation of negative emotional behaviour and the anger response displayed by people. It then looks at ways to minimise negative emotions and alternative ways to cope and remain calm.

Over the six-week programme, young people will have the opportunity to increase their knowledge, develop their coping mechanisms and increase their confidence – leading to increased wellbeing and resilience.

For full details, you can visit:

There is no pre-requisite for this course, so any young person who may benefit can be referred onto this programme.

Involve Kent Volunteers


Involve Kent are currently looking to recruit volunteer drivers in Maidstone and Malling to help older people get to medical appointments, deliver shopping and support with other adhoc journeys.

If you have a full, clean drivers license and would like to help support your local community, please contact Shelley Rhodes – 03000 810005 (option 4) or

Wellbeing Volunteers

Involve are recruiting volunteers across West Kent to help support patients with accessing shopping and medication. As a wellbeing buddy volunteer you would be supporting patients from a local GP surgery on an adhoc basis.

For more information or to apply, please contact Lizzie Lowrey – 03000 810005 or

All volunteers will be required to complete a DBS check which will be safely organised via Involve. All volunteering is undertaken within the guidelines set out by the Government and is reviewed accordingly.

NHS Talking Therapy (IAPT)

Talking therapy services offer time-limited, evidence-based psychological therapies. All services offer treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), stress management and sometimes group work.Psychological therapies can help with anxiety, depression, Stress, trauma, Phobias and other related problems. All services are operating remotely via telephone and online appointments. Therapeutic appointments are available weekdays and evenings and some weekend appointments are available. Visit or for more information

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing

The reality of this  lockdown is challenging and can create anxiety for many. The constant news and information about COVID19 can feel overwhelming. To help support local residents stay well,  a multi-agency group has developed a localised hub of information with simple tips and  advice . It also provides details of  local and national services that could be helpful. There is a lot people can do to protect their wellbeing so please share this link and promote through your networks

Young minds

Young Minds provides advice about mental health and behaviour problems in children and young people up to the age of 25. You can call the Parents’ and Carers’ Helpline on 0808 802 5544. Please be aware Young Minds do not provide any direct psychological services and cannot make referrals to the NHS or Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CYPMHS).

Helplines and websites for your child and or young person

If your child or young person would like to speak to someone anonymously, they could try calling a helpline or visiting websites such as ChildLine and The Mix.

Shout provides free, confidential support, 24/7 via text for anyone at crisis anytime, anywhere.

You can:

text SHOUT to 85258 in the UK to text with a trained Crisis Volunteer

text with someone who is trained and will provide active listening and collaborative problem-solving

ChildLine provides a helpline for any child with a problem. It comforts, advises and protects.

You can:

call 0800 1111 any time for free

have an online chat with a counsellor

check out the message boards

The Mix provides a free confidential helpline and online service that aims to find young people the best help, whatever the problem.

You can:

call 0808 808 4994 for free – lines are open from 11am to 11pm every day

access the online community

email The Mix

Under 18’s Mental Health support

Provides emotional wellbeing and mental health advice and support for young people and their families across Kent. Call the 24 hour single point of access number. Call 0300 123 4496 (select option one, then option three)

Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is going to affect daily life and regardless of their age, this may be a difficult time for children and young people. Please visit the website to see the full guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

School/ Education FAQ

Over the last week, there has been a great deal of activity from the Government with regards to the use of technology at home. You may be aware that for vulnerable families, the Government has committed to fund technology.

Which children and young people are eligible for a device or a router and why?

There are two groups of children and young people eligible for a device and connectivity who currently lack access:

· The first are care leavers and children who receive support from a social worker (including families with pre-school children with a social worker, as well as older children), who need to keep in touch with social care services.

· The second group are disadvantaged students who would not otherwise have access to online learning and are preparing for exams (in year 10).

Any 16 to 19 year olds in education, without a suitable device or connectivity to study remotely, and whose family cannot afford these costs, should approach their school to request support. The Government are also working with major telecommunication companies to temporarily exempt certain educational resources from data charges. More details on this will follow once the Government have made decisions.

My child qualifies for a device and connectivity at home but I don’t know how to apply for one. How can I do this?

Devices and routers will be sent to schools and children’s social care teams. They will contact you once they have the devices and routers to let you know how to access them.

There is too much pressure on broadband connections in my area – how can my child do online learning?

The Government is having regular calls with the major fixed and mobile operators, and with Ofcom, to monitor the situation and ensure that any problems on the networks are rapidly addressed and rectified.

The Government fully understands the importance of having reliable internet connectivity, particularly at this time, so that people can work from home wherever possible and access critical public services online, including health information.

Is my child at additional risk while spending more time online?

With children spending more time online to do schoolwork and other activities, there could be an additional risk. This is why it is more important than ever that children, parents and carers know how to stay safe online.

It is important that parents and carers talk to their children about online safety, show an interest in what they are doing online, and ask what they like and dislike about the apps and services they use. Discuss age appropriate ‘ground rules’ like how much time they spend online doing different things and what games and apps are appropriate to use. Also consider setting up and reviewing age appropriate parental controls. Setting parental controls can be a quick and effective tool to help protect children online.

Where can I go to get support to help keep my child safe online?

There is support available to keep your child safe online. You can access information on keeping children safe online:

Here are some useful links to help parents and carers.

· Parent Info, is a collaboration between Parentzone and the NCA providing support and guidance for parents from leading experts and organisations.

· Childnet, provides a tool kit to support parents and carers of children of any age to start discussions about their online life, to set boundaries around online behaviour and technology use, and to find out where to get more help and support.

· Internet Matters, provides age-specific online safety checklists, guides on how to set parental controls on a range of devices and a host of practical tips to help children get the most out of their digital world.

· LGfL, – support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online, including 6 top tips to keep primary aged children safe online.

· Net Aware, – support for parents and carers from the NSPCC, providing a guide to social networks, apps and games.

· Let’s Talk About It, – support for parents and carers to keep children safe from online radicalisation.

· UK Safer Internet Centre, – tips, advice, guides and resources to help keep children safe online, including parental controls offered by home internet providers and safety tools on social networks and other online services.

· staying safe online, – government guidance offering advice on parental controls, fact-checking information, communicating with family and friends while social distancing is in place and taking regular breaks.

What support is available to parents to help them maintain their family’s wellbeing while their children are at home?

Social connections, alongside exercise, sleep, diet and routine, are important protective factors for mental health. Materials to promote and support mental wellbeing are included in the list of online resources we have published to help children to learn at home:  

Public Health England’s Rise Above platform: supports young people. The Department of Health and Social Care is providing £5 million of additional funding to support mental health charities to increase their provision for adults and children at this time.

Social isolation, reduced exercise and bereavement may affect children’s wellbeing in this period. Resources to promote and support children and young people’s mental wellbeing include:

· MindEd educational resources for adults about children and young people’s mental health: which is relevant for parents and carers as well as volunteers, teachers, and other professionals working with children.

· Every Mind Matters platform: which supports looking after your own and other’s mental health.

· guidance on looking after and supporting children’s wellbeing and mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

All NHS mental health trusts are setting up 24/7 helplines and seeking to use digital and virtual channels to continue delivering support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We are struggling with access to Art and Craft resources. Can you help?

KCS Suppliers and Specialist Crafts may be of use to you. From discussions with both companies, we know they are willing to take private orders for households and deliver art materials to your door within 3 working days. KCS and Specialist Crafts usually deliver art materials to the schools. However, they have recognised the challenging circumstances and are adapting to help pupils/students continue with their home learning; they are happy to help with keeping you fully stocked!

If, for any reason, you need help with this, please do not hesitate to let us know. We will do our very best to support you and your family.

I still do not have my Free School Meals Vouchers. What should I do?

if you have any outstanding problems or queries with Free School Meals Vouchers, please do notify your respective Headteacher, so that this can be swiftly followed up. We are aware that this is important to you and, as such, we will prioritise it.

As a family, we are struggling. What should I do?

If, for any reason, you cannot access your respective school in the timeframe you need, please use the Kent Together helpline which can be accessed 24 hours a day via and 03000 41 92 92 – this is a single point of urgent contact for anyone in Kent who is in serious need of help during the Coronavirus outbreak.


Greenfields Children Centre 5 Rutland Way, Maidstone ME15 8DR Have stocks to 1-2 bags per family, but need to use contacts below to arrange parcels, as children’s centres are closed. Kareen McKeown: 07810 544460

Social Services – 40 food parcels delivered from the Family Food Bank each week Myra Blair:

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army Foodbank in Maidstone remains operational and is held on Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon however, there will be some restrictions put in place to protect the wellbeing of staff and guest.

For further information please contact the office on 01622 681808.

Food Bank will begin operating from MidKent College UCM Building from Tuesday 12th May from 10-2. We are initially opening from 10-2 every Tuesday & Thursday. We have food parcels from FareShare ready to distribute and our contact details for any referrals are

Oak National Academy

Oak National Academy is a new collection of high-quality lessons and online resources. Backed by the Government, it has been created in response to the coronavirus lockdown. Our online classroom offers free access to great teachers, delivering video lessons, quizzes and worksheets. Available for both primary and secondary levels, it covers a range of subjects. All of the lessons are ordered so your child can learn along a clear plan. We’ll provide new lessons and resources each week.

UK Men’s Shed Association Newsletter

Shoulder to Shoulder’, the first UK Men’s Shed Association newsletter including information about Shed Happens (the Men’s Shed radio), a lock down tool kit, virtual coffee breaks and much more!

Maidstone Hospital Drive-Through Pharmacy for Cancer Patients

A drive through pharmacy has been set up so cancer patients can receive vital medication without the need to enter Maidstone Hospital during the coronavirus pandemic.

The cabin, known as a Medicines Pick Up Pod – or mPUP for short, has been set up in car park B next to the Kent Oncology Centre so patients, or a relative or carer, can drive up or arrive on foot to collect their prescribed medicines. 

Branded a Medicines Pick Up Pod, the temporary pharmacy is staffed by members of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust’s oncology pharmacy team.

For more information, please visit the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust website

Arthritis Action

Staying Mentally Well and Active with Arthritis Action

Exercise Videos

Many people living with a long-term health condition find it difficult to attend exercise classes. To help them, Arthritis Action recently launched a series of online chair based  exercises developed with the aim of helping those with hip, knee or spinal Osteoarthritis more mobile and active.

Exercise and Activity Directory

Many people living with a long-term health condition also find exercising challenging. To support them, we launched an Exercise and Activity Directory signposting webpage in January 2020 to help people find the help and support they may need within their county to get active.  

Mental Health Directory

Many people living with a long-term health condition also experience mental health difficulties, such as stress or anxiety. To enable people to find the help and support they may need we have listed mental health organisations by county. Many of the NHS IAPT teams across the UK are listed as well as local Mind hubs and an array of other charitable organisations and services offering help and support to people experiencing mental health difficulties.

Government Guidance for Schools, Colleges and Local Authorities

As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing.

And the most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.

That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Please read the full guidance on Childcare the gov website.