When you walk into the room and see a little boy playing happily with the toys and volunteers, it’s hard to imagine how different a story it was 6 months ago.
Matthew was a few months old when the 1st Covid lockdown hit. He had brothers and sisters but the family, like most families, had to stay at home with just each other for company.
As the pandemic continued, many local community groups continued to remain closed for face to face groups or those that were open were booked up very quickly. Red Hen opened up their ‘Stay and Play’ and Thursday drop ins and Amy brought Matthew along. His first interactions with other children and adults was not a positive experience and it was really difficult for both of them.
‘He shouted and screamed and just wouldn’t settle at all’
Matthew was so unsettled and distressed that Amy thought there must be more going on for him. She wondered if he might have some developmental delays or other undiagnosed conditions.
After Amy’s perseverance bringing him to the group and the dedicated, gentle support from volunteers and family workers, 6 months on, Matthew is a happy little boy who seeks out the attention of Peter and Dee, Red Hen volunteers.
Amy says “he’s a different child”. When asked how she feels now, she says, “It’s AMAZING – I thought there was more to it. He was clinging and screaming and hiding in the cupboard but now he leaves me and it makes me so much happier and relieved.”
Mathew has recently started nursery and Amy believes that he has settled so much more quickly at nursery because of the time he has had in the group. The way in which family workers and volunteers have supported Tommy to grow in confidence in his relationships with other children and new experiences has meant that he is
“calmer at home, interacts more with us and loves coming to the group.”