WhatsApp ‘a lifeline’ whilst our groups can’t meet Face 2 Face
In normal times, our Face 2 Face befriending service (as the name suggests) lets parent carers connect with each other in person – either one to one, with a volunteer befriender, or in regular social groups that meet in local cafes or bars.
Covid-19 meant that our befriender visits had to move to phone or Zoom (or sometimes outdoors when restrictions allowed) and our regular Autism, Breakfast Club and Dads’ Group meet-ups in Brighton moved to online Zooms instead. At the same time, though, this inability to meet up in person has meant that our WhatsApp groups have really taken off.
Louise Howe, Face 2 Face coordinator Brighton, says:
“The WhatsApp groups are really special. Whenever someone has a query or is looking for support, it has been amazing to witness that there is always someone there for them. Parents share as much or as little as they like and it’s a completely safe space.”
What do parent carers get out of the WhatsApp groups?
Mandi*, one of the members of the Breakfast Club WhatsApp group, told us what the group had meant to her during lockdown:
Chantal, a parent who is part of both the autism and Breakfast Club groups, also told us how important they had been for her wellbeing.
For Chantal, it’s also about getting the best advice and guidance from people who have been there before:
Through the groups, Face 2 Face also organises events that are all about keeping everyone’s spirits up. Recent examples include an online yoga session for kids with ASC and a virtual pamper evening for the parents which Mandi says was “the best night in I’ve had in ages!!”
New ASC WhatsApp groups in East Sussex
As well as our very active WhatsApp groups for the Brighton groups, we’ve recently launched two new WhatsApp groups for Sussex families with kids with ASC – one for under 10s and one for over 11s. They are proving popular too. Find out more about our East Sussex groups.
Meeting up in person?
Our Face 2 Face groups will restart when regulations allow, and when parent carers tell us they feel confident about attending. As soon as we have clear information, we will share further details.
Find out more
You’ll find everything you need to know on the Face 2 Face Befriending page. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for Brighton & Hove enquiries, or email@example.com for East Sussex.
Last word about the groups goes to Priya:
* All the names in this piece have been changed to protect anonymity