Frontline Families: Work undertaken during COVID-19

Throughout the pandemic, the following activities have been undertaken as part of Frontline Families.

Bringing Us Together

  • Bringing Us Together held fortnightly ‘Zoom Room Chats’ to bring family members together who have young people and adults in Assessment and Treatment Units (ATUs) with learning disabilities and or autism, or young people and adults in residential placements including supported living with learning disabilities and autism. These chats offer peer support, build networks, overcome isolation and will be a safe place for family members to share experiences about what is working and what is not working. Family members are also signposted who may need more intensive support.
  • Stronger Together is an ongoing project established by Bringing Us Together to involve families with children, young people and adults who have experience of in-patient services and residential placements.  Since 2016 they have been bringing families together to share their stories, and to work strategically to raise awareness on common themes experienced by families and their loved ones. They have held a range of residential events, focus groups, and events with NHS England and Care Quality Commission representatives, and written reports that they have published. They have an expert team of parents with lived experience who have designed and written their own Survival Guides for other parents, as well as some useful resources to be shared. Parents have gone on to work as Experts by Experience in Care and Treatment Reviews and for NHS England, some have paid employment roles in the field, others have campaigned locally and nationally, and some are delivering training across the country as well as bringing their own children home back into the community.
  • For more information please contact:
  • To join Bringing Us Together’s Facebook group go to:

Stronger Together – Making a Difference – Private Facebook Group

Bringing Us Together – Open Page

Bringing Us Together – our members sharing private group

Or you can find Bringing Us Together on: Twitter


  • As part of Frontline Families, the CBF is able to provide several different types of help and support. The Family Support Service is for families whose relative has a severe learning disability, providing information, support and case work. The service has been able to increase capacity in order to meet increased need during the pandemic.
  • The CBF also operates it’s Family Carers’ Email Network, which puts families in touch with others to share experiences and suggestions. The CBF has been able to increase capacity of this service to meet the current increased need.
  • The CBF has developed a number of new information sheets which you can find in the COVID-19 section of the website. The CBF’s series of challenging behaviour videos were also made freely accessible on the website.
  • The CBF organised Carers’ Catch Ups, informal chat groups with other families of children or adults with severe learning disabilities. The virtual catch-ups are hosted by CBF local champions, who are family carer volunteers who usually attend events such as conferences, to speak or host a stall of CBF resources.
  • During a large part of the pandemic, the CBF held Behaviour Chats, an on-line chat which aimed to help with urgent or crisis behaviour at home. Families shared their ‘right here, right now’ concerns about challenging behaviour with a small group including other family carers and experts.
  • The CBF also holds ‘Legal panel enquiries’; a group of lawyers brought together to answer legal questions. In response to increased needs during the pandemic, more frequent meetings were arranged, and access was provided to all COVID-19 Government guidance. Families were referred to this service via the Family Support Service.
  • The CBF produced a printed newsletter, containing specific information useful during the pandemic and aimed in particular at those who do not have online access, via a printed version which was sent out in addition to our usual online newsletter. Families sign up to the printed newsletter by phoning 01634 838739.
  • See the CBF’s peer support page to fund out more about any of the above services.

Newbold Hope

  • Social Media – Newbold Hope is in touch with over 40,000 SEND families through Facebook groups and pages and on Twitter as follows:

Private Facebook Groups:

For families of SEND children with Violent and Challenging Behaviour (VCB) 

For Dads and other close male relatives of SEND children with VCB 

For professionals and other staff who work with this group of children and their families

Public Facebook Pages:

Sharing information about SEND VCB and related topics 

Sharing more general disability information 

Or follow Yvonne on Twitter – @YvonneNewbold

  • Written and video resources: Newbold Hope has written a number of resources to support parents and staff in helping SEND children to move beyond their aggressive episodes which you can access here.
  • Training workshops and webinars for parents and professionals covering a range of issues related to SEND VCB and other anxiety-led forms of challenging behaviour have been held, with a focus on sharing the skills and the confidence to be able to work with a child to reduce their aggressive episodes.
  • Campaigning has been held at a national level to influence Government policy, through Yvonne Newbold being a member of the NHS Assembly, an advisor to NHSE&I on Learning Disabilities and Autism, and speaking at conferences. Soon to be published is the “Behind Closed Doors” research study, carried out in collaboration with Northumbria University, which will look at how appropriately the statutory services, such as healthcare, education and social services respond to the impact of SEND violence on family life.
  • Newbold Hope is also developing more formal online training for parents and professionals, books on different aspects of SEND childhood violence, and a club to support parents while they are addressing their child’s behaviours.
  • As part of Frontline Families, Newbold Hope also designed and delivered five webinars at a nominal cost of £2.50 for each webinar, although there were some free places available for families facing financial hardship. Any parent who is currently struggling with their SEND child’s challenging behaviour was welcome to take part.