Dear editor,

We are all aware that the current coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on everyone in our society, with the most vulnerable being exposed to even more risk. Worryingly, thousands of children are in danger of being left behind if their needs are not met.

The pandemic has meant that vulnerable children and young people are increasingly hidden from support services. But with the help of a £7m package of support from the Department for Education, Barnardo’s is bringing together a coalition of national and local charities to identify and support those most at risk at this time of crisis.

Barnardo’s is proud to be managing the See, Hear, Respond response centre. Through our telephone referral service, we will refer any concerns about a vulnerable child raised to the local partner agency best-placed to help.

Support will include an online hub of information, online counselling and therapy, face-to-face support for those most affected and at risk of some of today’s most pertinent issues. There is also help for children and young people to reintegrate back into school.

The new service will see the collective of charities working alongside other community-based organisations, local authorities, schools, colleges, police forces and healthcare professionals - all pulling together to provide solutions to the challenges facing children and families that may have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The programme will focus on finding and reaching out to children around the country who are experiencing negative impacts on their health and wellbeing, as well as those at risk of harm.

Helplines are open from 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday; 10am – 6pm at weekends. Readers can call 0800 157 7015 to make a referral or go to to find out more.

As we all continue to navigate the coronavirus and its aftermath, this Government package of support will help us to ensure that those children across the North West who are most at risk have access to a lifeline and do not fall through the cracks.

Steve Oversby

Barnardo’s North Regional Director