Released on: 12 January 2021
We have continued to support many thousands of pregnant women, partners and families through the coronavirus pandemic.
Where possible, we have shifted our services and support for parents online. However, Walk and Talks are considered an essential support group for parents with babies and young children, who have struggled to cope with the isolation, anxiety and challenge of having a baby during the pandemic.
The Babies in Lockdown report showed how families most at risk of poor outcomes have suffered the most, widening the inequalities that already exist in early life experiences. Accessing online support services has been particularly difficult for new parents during the pandemic as it can be incredibly difficult to take part in online groups while caring for a baby.
NCT Walk and Talks operate in line with Government guidance and legislation.
- In England, the Government has recognised the importance of support groups that have to be delivered in person. These are legally allowed to continue where formally organised to provide mutual aid. Group sizes are restricted.
- In Scotland, the Government has recognised the importance of parent and baby or toddler groups. These are legally allowed to continue outdoors, with restrictions on group size.
- In Northern Ireland and Wales, Walk and Talks are currently paused during the period of tighter national restrictions in those nations.
The safety of volunteers, parents, babies, children and vulnerable groups is always our number one priority.
- NCT’s senior management team regularly review legislation, guidance and risk to inform decisions about how we offer services and support to parents during the pandemic.
- NCT has developed a detailed safe operating procedure and approval process to minimise the risk and keep everyone safe.
- Volunteers are only permitted to lead walks once they are familiar with the safe operating procedure and have had their local risk assessment approved by the central staff team.
- All Walk and Talk support groups take place outdoors, where the risk of transmission of Covid-19 is known to be lower.
- All parents must book to attend and are reminded of government guidance prior to and during the event.
- NCT supports the work of the NHS Test, Trace and Protect programmes in each nation of the UK, should a volunteer or parent report a positive Covid-19 test after attending a group.
- Volunteers are encouraged to only lead walks where they feel safe, confident and comfortable to do so. This includes consideration of their own personal circumstances as well as their community context and needs.
You can read more about how our services are operating during Covid-19 here. Please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any other questions about how we are running our services during the pandemic.