September 2, 2021 12:24
Pilot project has shown the benefits of the charity’s range of services for families dealing with such a situation
Camp Simcha is extending its services to support families with children with serious mental health conditions.
The move follows a successful 18-month pilot project during which it worked in collaboration with organisations including mental health charity Jami, Norwood and Noa Girls.
Chief executive Neville Goldschneider said Camp Simcha could now be there for more families in need of assistance.
“Using the existing model of pastoral support services that we offer to a family when they have a seriously ill child, the pilot programme has demonstrated that Camp Simcha has a vital contribution to make.
“Families we have supported via the pilot project particularly referenced the huge benefits of services such as our family liaison officers, sibling art sessions and family support and respite activities. They also fed back how invaluable it was just ‘knowing Camp Simcha was there’.”
Mum Talia Price, whose family were supported as part of the pilot, said Camp Simcha had made a huge difference to their lives, “delivering joy.
“My son has been in hospital for two years now. Prior to this, looking after him at home for two years has had devastating effects on my husband’s health and mine.
“It was very tough to not be able to visit the hospital during lockdown but I am grateful to Camp Simcha for the one-to-ones with my family liaison officer, going for walks and meeting up outdoors. The family days out and arts sessions for my younger son were a lifeline and the art and relaxation programmes for me were life-changing, a real emotional boost.”
The eligibility criterion for referrals will remain as for the pilot —those with a child whose serious mental health issues are having a significant impact on the family. And Camp Simcha can only be involved if there is an existing clinical care team supporting the child.
Mr Goldschneider added that the charity was expanding its team to meet the demand, “beginning with a new mental health professional, clinical psychologist Lauren Topper, to oversee the service delivery and provide ongoing training and support.
“We will also continue to work collaboratively with all other organisations in order to avoid duplication and maximise impact.”
Welcoming the announcement, Jewish Leadership Council co-chief executive Claudia Mendoza said that “from the work we have been doing with organisations focusing on this issue, it is clear that there is a huge need for this service.
“We are delighted that Camp Simcha will bring its unique form of pastoral support to help so many families.”
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