Camp Simcha is extending its services to include serious mental health conditions amongst the childhood illnesses it supports, after the completion of a successful 18-month pilot project.
Announcing the news, Chief Executive Neville Goldschneider said: “This decision means Camp Simcha can be there for even more families who need us. Using the existing model of pastoral support services that we offer to the family when they have a seriously ill child, the pilot programme has demonstrated that Camp Simcha has a vital and unique contribution to make towards a huge need within our community. Throughout the past 18 months we have worked collaboratively with organisations such as the JLC JAMI, Norwood and Noa Girls, being careful to avoid duplication and maximise co-operation – and will continue to do so going forward.
“Families we have supported via the pilot project particularly referenced the huge benefits of services such as our Family Liaison Officer support; sibling art sessions and group; volunteers for siblings, as well as 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 life, “delivering joy”.
“My son has been in hospital for 2 years now. Prior to this, looking after him at home for 2 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 lock-down but I am very grateful to Camp Simcha for the 1-1 with my family liaison officer, going for walks and meeting up outdoors. The family days outs and arts sessions for my younger son were a lifeline, plus the art and relaxation programmes for me were life-changing, a real emotional boost.”
In response to the announcement, JLC co-chief executive Claudia Mendoza said: “We are delighted that Camp Simcha has confirmed it will now be providing a permanent support service for families of a child with serious mental health issues. 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 and we are delighted that Camp Simcha will bring its own unique form of whole family pastoral support to help so many families who need them.”
The eligibility criteria for referrals will follow the pilot: families who have a child with a serious mental health condition with a significant impact on the family. In all cases Camp Simcha can only step in if there is an existing clinical care team supporting the child.
Mr Goldschneider added: “We are expanding our team to meet this increased service need, 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.”
If you or someone you know needs Camp Simcha’s support you can speak to us in strictest confidence on 020 8202 9297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org