'Incredibly challenging' year for charity as families hit hard by pandemic

Allan Myatt, chief executive of Ormiston Families

Allan Myatt, chief executive of Ormiston Families - Credit: Simply C Photography

East Anglian charity Ormiston Families is seeing high demand for services during the Covid-19 pandemic, as it launches its 40th anniversary campaign.

Mental health, isolation and family breakdown across the region mean the charity's services, in areas including Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk, have become a lifeline for many.

Allan Myatt, chief executive of Ormiston Families, said: “There is no doubt that this has been an incredibly challenging last 12 months for so many families across the region, the country, and indeed, the world.

“But for those who had already felt challenged, the pandemic has clearly exacerbated the impact, and our team have seen that play out in a huge level of support sessions required.”

The charity carried out just under 30,000 support sessions and prison visits  in 2020-21.

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And its mental health service, which operates in the Waveney and Norfolk areas, saw 50% more referrals in October and March as young people returned to schools.

With the pandemic causing prison visits to be paused for several months, this has also had an impact on families the organisation supports.

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Ormiston Families is launching a year-long anniversary campaign, with the theme of #AllDoorsOpen, and appealing for former service users to share their experiences. 

Communities and businesses are being urged to help make a better brighter future more accessible to all.

The 2019 Walk with a Fork at Helmingham Hall in aid of Ormiston Families.

The 2019 Walk with a Fork at Helmingham Hall in aid of Ormiston Families. The event is set to return as part of Ormiston's 40th anniversary year - Credit: Ormiston/Helmingham Hall

The charity will be hosting various events and fundraising activities in 2021, including getting together a team for The Whole Hog obstacle event and the return of Walk with a Fork at Helmingham Hall in September.

There will also be the chance to host a fundraising barbecue in July-August, and an author event with Justine Picardie discussing her new book Miss Dior.

Ormiston Families delivers a range of services, including a Children and Young People’s Mental Health Service; Mpower and YouCanBe – wellbeing services for women affected by or at risk of having a child removed into care; and Breaking Barriers, which works with children affected by the imprisonment of a close family relative.

For more details, visit ormiston.org or, to share your experiences of the services, email communications@ormistonfamilies.org.uk

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