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Social distancing has occurred at a time that is already isolating for many families whose child has cancer. At the same time, we have become familiar with the convenience of videoconferencing so it made sense for Redkite to give families in the Cancer Centre for Children an opportunity to connect through virtual Coffee Catch Ups.
Redkite social workers, Emmy McIntosh and Sam Dent, run the relaxed and open groups for parents every second Tuesday, having devised the concept as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Catch Ups are proving popular and another recurring group has been added since they began on 5 May 2020.
“We have parents with children as young as eight months old through to teenagers, some are single parents, and others are in relationships. The children are all in different stages of treatment, as well as being various ages, so different topics come up, but parents are all still able to connect with each other on different levels which has been great,” said Sam.
“A lot of the feedback we’ve had is that they’re just enjoying the opportunity to connect with other parents and swap stories.”
Topics of conversation cover what parents are interested in and the sessions are family friendly with children, and even pets, making appearances.
“Parents might chat about treatment, family life, money, or anything they’re going through, such as worries about COVID-19 or other illnesses,” said Emmy, describing some common topics. “It could be anything at all to do with what they’re going through at the moment.”
“If there are children in the background we’re very open to that. Sometimes kids join in, and wave or introduce themselves, and that’s totally okay. We don’t want to let that stop anyone from joining our group. We’re very family friendly, we love meeting parents’ kids as well.”
The casual nature of the Coffee Catch Ups has been a winning formula, with parents feeling comfortable joining sessions that fulfil their need to connect without being formal therapy meetings. Their versatility is an added bonus as people can participate on any device including their mobile phones. Best of all, parents can choose to have their camera on or off, and participate as much or as little as they want, or even just listen. After all, it’s a group for them.
Redkite Coffee Catch Up
Who: Parents with a child diagnosed with cancer who are on treatment, or have finished treatment in the last 6 months.
When: Every second Tuesday
- 1st Group: 16 June, 30 June …
- New Group: 9 June, 23 June …
Would you like to join a Coffee Catch Up? Follow this link to sign up.
Redkite's support line remains open. If you are looking for any support or assistance call 1800 Redkite (1800 733 548) from 9am - 7pm.
You can also contact Redkite by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.