Jigsaw4u continues with its vital work to support children in crisis, even in a lockdown.

For those with cancer, the pandemic has turned an already traumatic situation into a nightmare. Aged just 36 with stage 4 bowel cancer, single mum Zoe* had to shield after chemotherapy and extensive surgery.

Zoe worried not only for her own health but what the emotional toll would be on her 10-year-old son, *Kai. Her mother came to support her – but she too then had to shield due to a lung condition.

Jigsaw4u offers support to young people facing a wide range of issues, including family illness and bereavement, domestic violence, living with mental illness or disability, bullying, sexual exploitation or going missing from home or care. Before the pandemic, it offered 1:1 support, and individual and family therapies. For people like Zoe and her family, such services are invaluable.

For Jigsaw4u to be able to carry on its work, it needed to move its support to video and phone calls until its face-to-face appointments can resume. The charity applied to Merton Giving for a grant so that it could adapt its services rapidly and continue to meet the needs of vulnerable children and their families.

The support for Zoe and Kai has been ongoing throughout the lockdown. Regular video calls have been hugely reassuring, particularly for Kai. Zoe’s surgery took place at the beginning of the isolation period and so she was not allowed visitors. Kai was extremely upset as he did not get to see his mum for 10 days, however Jigsaw4u was there for him. When she returned from hospital, he was worried that they would not have food and other things they needed but Jigsaw4u was able to allay his fears.

Zoe was also very anxious about Kai’s schoolwork. Jigsaw4u was able to resource a laptop for him so he could connect with his school and also his peers in the online classroom.

Thanks to the grant, Jigsaw4u has been able to respond quickly to the demands of offering support in a lockdown, ensuring that children and vulnerable families in a range of challenging circumstances can access help, particularly now when their normal support networks are unable to be there.

  • Click here to find out more about Jigsaw4u's work
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*Names have been changed