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We’re using Facebook to help keep youngsters occupied and give families advice during lockdown


This energetic video shows one of our Essex-based child workers doing her best to keep little ones entertained during lockdown.

Healthy Family Support Assistant Chris Arrowsmith carries out her Jumping Beans sessions via Facebook to keep children active and entertained while they have to stay at home during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The Harlow-based worker is one of a number of those across the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service (ECFWS) who have pulled together to help parents during these unprecedented times

The service has released a series of podcasts, videos and online play sessions to help keep children across the county occupied.

Jointly run by Virgin Care and Barnardo’s for the council and NHS, the service plays a big part in helping children and families across the county.

This includes holding a huge array of drop-in sessions and activities for youngsters of all ages, day in day out, in its family hubs across Essex.

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has, of course, led to the country shutting down, schools closing and the children play sessions and activities that ECFWS normally run being put on hold.

But that doesn’t mean little ones across the county are ready to suspend their need to have fun.

So with that in mind, those that run Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service’s Family Hubs have set up a social media strategy to make sure youngsters can keep busy – even if the activities and play sessions they can take part in are virtual.

Richard Comerford, Managing Director of Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service, said: said: “We are all going through an unprecedented time, and we know this is difficult.

“We also fully understand the pressures parents with small children will be going through as young children will find it difficult being kept in doors during lockdown.

“For that reason and because we have had to suspend our normal activity sessions, we have put a number of them online and they are free for all to use. We really hope this helps parents and children and gives them some fun activities they can do.”

The service is using its Facebook hub pages to broadcast its sessions and people who like the pages they are on will also get notifications of daily activity ideas such as Easter Crafts – a range of different craft activities using items found in the home – physical activities and exercises, colouring competitions, treasure hunts and sensory play

A series of videos – including Chris Arrowsmith’s – is also being created and posted on the Facebook family hub pages that correspond to where each worker is based – meaning children who attend the hubs see a familiar face on the Facebook sessions.

These include Rhyme Time Sessions – singing nursery rhymes and promoting engagement with children through actions – and Make and Do tutorials, which show youngsters how to make playdough from household items

In addition, top tips for parents will be posted giving advice on supporting emotional wellbeing, preparing children for school, supporting children with Special Education Needs at home and online safety for children and young people

The Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service is split into four geographical quadrants – North, East, South and West – and the hubs in each area have a corresponding Facebook page with a selection of the activities and information on.

To access each local hub Facebook page, click on one of the links below:

North Essex

Mid Essex

South Essex
Castle Point

West Essex

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