BUSHkids Annual Report 2019-20

ANNUAL REPORT 2019–2020 SECTION TOPIC 56 WARWICK LOCATIONS This year, the Warwick team took part in a number of community events, including the Whispering Gully Spring Fair, Love Your Sister Luncheon, The Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Festival —and even had our own float in the Warwick Rodeo Parade . These were fun events which also raised awareness about BUSHkids and the services we are able to provide across the Southern Downs and Granite Belt. As well, teams delivered outreach services to Cambooya, Yangan and Stanthorpe to deliver individualised services and the group programs PALS, Fun Friends and Friends for Life to early childhood centres and schools. Community engagement was maintained through our hosting and facilitating the quarterly meetings of the Southern Downs Regional Children’s Services Network . This forum enables the team to connect to the local services and receive updates about changing community needs; enabling us to provide informed supports to families and children where they are needed. The Warwick team worked from both home and the Service Centre during the COVID-19 restrictions and this combination proved very successful, enabling us to continue providing individual services and group programs via teleHealth to childcare centres and into family homes. Via teleHealth the team supported several kindies and childcare centres, including Allora C&K Kindy , Glennie Heights C&K Kindy , Whispering Gully Childcare Centre and St Mary’s Kindy to deliver programs such as PALS, Seasons for Growth © and Friends Resilience © Friends for Life. The team was also successful in maintaining the delivery of Virtual Storytime by ZOOM to a wide audience—and also able to convert our Multiple Birth Playgroup to a virtual experience; this proved so successful it was increased to weekly sessions. Warwick • Case study: CAHS (FHSW) Warwick mother of twin girls Melissa was eager to connect with other Warwick families of multiple births/twins and triplets after finding support herself from the Toowoomba and District Multiple Birth Association ’s playgroup. Melissa found solace and support in attending the playgroups in Toowoomba; however in addition to her twins, she also has a toddler, so longed for a group closer to home. She approached BUSHkids in early 2020 to see if BUSHkids would help her run a Warwick-based playgroup. Our Centre has a large play area which can easily accommodate many children and families. Happy to support Melissa, she and our FHSW Linda joined forces to establish Warwick’s Multi Birth Playgroup. Being a parent of twins or triplets is a unique situation and can come with more stress and exhaustion than caring for single children, so this playgroup is important for parents to connect and forge support networks with others who understand the circumstances. The first playgroup, held in February, was in-person and had a turnout of three families and eight children – demonstrating the need for this special group. Logistics then took a turn as COVID-19 locked down the country. BUSHkids’ experience with delivering teleHealth meant that the group was able to be easily transitioned to a virtual one. Linda worked hard to ensure the families were comfortable with moving the group online, and when the first virtual playgroup was held, five families logged-in, a total of 14 children. One family joined in from Roma – five hours west of Warwick! – and word was getting out about the group still going ahead despite the pandemic restrictions. The playgroup initially planned to meet each fortnight but, with all families restricted at home, this changed to weekly. Families adjusted enthusiastically to the new weekly routine with many doing activities at home in preparation for virtual playgroup. Each week Linda would send an email through the multibirth network outlining the topic for the next playgroup, along with simple, fun and creative activities ideas that families could do at home using everyday items – like boxes from the recycling bin. The feedback and response from families was phenomenal ,which highlighted what an astounding achievement virtual playgroup was proof of not only the connections and friendships between multibirth families but also of the (until now) unmet community need in our area. During each session Linda led the group through lots of fun activities, such as reading books together as a group, learning new rhymes, singing songs and doing arts and crafts to match the story. As each virtual session opened, it was not unusual for Linda to find a family sitting in a cave (cubby under the table) or on the floor with pots and pans in hand ready for story time or music time. I’m a Hungry Dinosaur and The Rainbow Fish were firm group favourites. The online, virtual playgroups continued until restrictions were lifted then moved back to being in-person in September. Linda and Melissa continue to run these groups with many families continuing to join in each time. “Thanks for the brilliant job you’re all doing bringing these services to families – it doesn’t go unnoticed.” https://bit.ly/3pRlgsN

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