Published 13 November 2020

Covid-19 has severely impacted our daily lives across Kent, however a great deal of this impact is hidden behind closed doors and with it comes great risk of harm; increased domestic abuse with restrictions keeping people at home in dangerous situations and adverse effects on our mental health.

It is important that support services are available to respond and provide the much-needed interventions for those in need. For instance, South Kent MIND reported an increase in demand of 156% whilst being able to keep in contact with over 250 people during lockdown.

Support services have seen a surge in demand and recognising the difficulties our commissioned services were experiencing during Covid-19, Matthew Scott, the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner created an Emergency Fund to support them, as well as maintaining funding through other streams. This funding was for those charities whose ability to deliver services had been adversely impacted by the pandemic.

The total Emergency Funding was £112,516.62, allocated to service providers, which was in addition to the other funding streams provided by his office, allowing them to achieve impressive outcomes:

DAVSS, a domestic abuse charity saw an increase in the number of hours volunteers were providing support to West Kent residents by an average of 52% and helpline calls increased by 45%. DAVSS Support to Court Project received 250 referrals in six months and supported victims achieve 57 non molestation orders, 6 Prohibited Steps Order, 19 Child Arrangement Orders, 5 Restraining Orders and 2 Force Marriage Protection Orders.

Rubicon Cares, a charity supporting people through trauma, experienced a 48% increase in referrals from April to August. They received 475 referrals in six months and those receiving support demonstrated a 100% improvement in managing / reducing trauma symptoms, 100% reduction in suicide ideation/planning/attempts and 95% improvement in day to day functioning.

Dads Unlimited, a charity who support people through parental conflict, supported 848 clients in six months, with 153 prevented from Suicide / Self Harm and 40 diverted from requiring police intervention.

Additionally, through the PCC’s Violence Reduction Fund (VRF), commissioned charities were awarded funding to tackle violence in our county:

CrimeStoppers Trust Kent ‘Fearless’ project educated 1,634 young people by increasing their awareness around gangs whilst Reform Restore Respect workshops reached 5,174 young people (159% above expectations). Calling on personal experience Francis Osei-Appiah showed the consequences of the destructive path of violence and highlighted the benefits of making positive choices.

 

Thank you to all charities who have kept going through this difficult time; only a handful of the fantastic examples have been mentioned here but we appreciate the work all our funded services do. These services are vital to maintaining support to our most vulnerable in our county.

 

Matthew Scott stated:

‘Without the hard work these charities show, so many of us would fall through the safety net, which helps people manage the potentially long-term impacts of trauma and prevents crime through education and engagement. This surge in demand coupled with dealing with this virus made it an easy decision to provide further funding.

The fact that our commissioned services have continued to do this in the face of a pandemic is no less than remarkable, so this is my opportunity to thank these services as well as my commissioning team for their continued hard work and dedication’.

PCC funded services we’d like to thank (alphabetical):

Amelix

Choices

Clarion Housing

Dads Unlimited

Dandelion Time

DAVSS

East Kent Rape Crisis Centre

Family Matters

Folkestone Youth project

Fresh Visions People Ltd

Health Action (HACO)

Kent CrimeStoppers Trust

Kent Police

Look Ahead

NSPCC

Oasis Domestic Abuse Service

Reform Restore Respect

Restorative Solutions

Rising Sun

Rubicon Cares

SATEDA

Sign Health

South Kent Mind

St Giles Trust

The Forward Trust

The Mary Dolly Foundation

Total Insight Theatre

Uprising

Victim Support