21 Sep

Missed any of our Summer Series of Talks? You can catch up here….

We are delighted to say that our Summer Series of Talks has been a great success thus far, with 6 fantastic speakers giving audiences a fascinating insight into a wide variety of topics.

If you’ve missed any of our speakers, you can catch up with all the talks at our Youtube channel by clicking HERE.  There, you’ll be able to hear:

  • Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, talking about how children in general and vulnerable children in particular are being affected by Covid-19 and the need for a ‘Nightingale scale’ intervention
  • Anthony Costello talking about the longer-term consequences of Covid-19 for child health globally, and the threats from climate change and commercial exploitation
  • Alan Johnson talking about his love of music, books and football (with a bit of politics thrown in)
  • Eleanor Mills discussing some of the highlights of her career as a journalist, editor and campaigner, and how she used story-telling to raise funds and awareness for important causes
  • Christine Blower discussing the virtues of education and gardening and the extent to which children in urban and suburban environments are cut off from the natural world
  • Benjamin Zephaniah telling us about his remarkable journey from leaving school at 13 years old to becoming one of the most respected poets of his generation
  • Adrian Martineau explaining how vitamin D has played a key role in immune function for centuries, and examining its potential role in the fight against COVID-19.
14 Aug

Don’t miss the final talk of our Summer Series….

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England

In the seventh, and final, instalment of our weekly Summer Series, we are delighted to host Anne Longfield OBE, the Children’s Commissioner for England.

Join us on Tuesday 25th August at 7.30pm, for what promises to be a topical and insightful talk on the eve of England’s children returning to school.  To register, please click here.

09 Jul

WLAC Patron the Rt Hon Alan Johnson joins us for the second talk of our Summer Series

In the second of our Summer Series of talks, Alan Johnson will give a talk entitled Three Guitars, encompassing his love of music, books and football (with a bit of politics thrown in).

Alan Johnson served in the cabinet under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, where his roles included Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Trade and Industry, Education, Health and Home Secretary.

Having left school aged 15 and failed in his attempts to become a rock star, he joined the Post Office and became a local official of the Union Of Post Office Workers, rising through the ranks to eventually become the Union’s youngest ever General Secretary in 1992. Five years later he became the MP for Hull West and Hessle, a position he held through five general elections, standing down when the 2017 election was called.

He has written four best selling memoirs, chronicling his life in the slums of Kensington during the post-war 50s through to reaching one of the highest offices of State.

Alan kindly agreed to be a Patron of West London Action for Children in 2018.Read less

To register for the event, click here

06 Jul

Join us for the Opening talk of our Summer Series

Professor Anthony Costello in conversation with Krishnan Guru-Murthy – Tuesday 7th July, 7:30pm

In our opening Summer Series webinar, Professor Anthony Costello, Director of the Institute for Global Health at University College London will be in conversation with Channel 4 News’ Krishnan Guru-Murthy to ask if there’s A Future for our Children? He will explore the longer term consequences of Covid-19 for child health globally, and the threats from climate change and commercial exploitation.

CLICK here for more information or to register for the event.

02 Jul

Join us every Tuesday evening for our Summer Series of talks

Each Tuesday evening this summer WLAC will be hosting our weekly Summer Series of topical webinars where eminent guest speakers will be discussing key issues facing vulnerable families and children in our current turbulent times. 

CLICK here for more information on each of the talks or to register for any of the events.

26 Jun

£22,600 raised through Champions for Children!

A huge thank you to everyone who donated to WLAC over the Champions for Children campaign week. We well and truly hit our target and raised over £22,600, all of which will go towards supporting local families and children in need during Covid-19.

Also a big thank you to The Childhood Trust and our pledge givers, whose kind generosity meant that donations made via the Champions for Children match funding campaign were doubled!

15 Jun

Big Give Match Funding during Covid-19

23rd – 30th June 2020
Help us to hit our target of £20,000

We are delighted to announce that The Big Give and The Childhood Trust have teamed up to organise Champions for Children – a match-funding campaign to support charities in raising much-needed funds during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The funding offers you the opportunity to double your donation to WLAC, at no extra cost to you, helping us to continue providing our vital services to those most in need at this unprecedented time.

What do you need to do:

The match-funding opportunity goes live on Tuesday 23rd June, for one week only, so make a note in your diary.  We will be publishing the direct link to our WLAC Big Give Donation page closer to the time here on our website, on all of our social media platforms, as well as emailing our supporters, so keep your eyes peeled.

In the meantime, get your thinking caps on because we’d like you to log on to social media during the Champions for Children week, and tell us who has been your #LockdownChampion and why.

Could it be…

Your partner for bringing you that much needed cup of tea when your computer crashed yet again?

Your children for being so brave, kind and mighty at such a difficult time?

Your best friend for making you laugh just when you needed it most?

Your family for making your lockdown birthday one to remember?

Your neighbour for bringing round the Tesco essentials?

Everyday acts of kindness are all the more important in these difficult times, and we’d like to celebrate each and every #LockdownChampion

13 May

Counselling under lockdown

Reflections from a WLAC counsellor (client details changed)

At the end of February, our CEO Heather was following the Covid-19 information assiduously. We had hand sanitisers fixed to the walls and we cleaned door handles twice a day.

I then took a week’s leave (social distance skiing in Northern Italy), came back with coronavirus (I’m sure I caught it before I left, so my trip saved the entire office from getting it!), and EVERYTHING had changed.

Suddenly we were all working from home, a week before official lockdown began.  Each week we usually have maybe sixty people coming into our small offices and sitting for intensive one-hour sessions in small counselling rooms – it simply wasn’t going to work.

Although we had had hypothetical discussions about working from home, it did come upon us very suddenly. On Friday 13th March, everyone packed up and left the office for the foreseeable future.

We discovered that we are very adaptable – and so are our clients. Within a week, we all had our own work mobile phones and had contacted all our clients and arranged phone sessions with everyone who wanted to continue counselling.   And then of course there was Zoom. So easy to set up. We had a team meeting within a day of working from home and we could thrash out various issues – like what to do about people we hadn’t met who were waiting for counselling and about future referrals.

So how is counselling from home working for clients?

Clients say, “It’s nice to hear your voice”. For many of them, I have been a stable presence in their lives for some time and I am pleased to be able to continue to be there for them. I have just spoken to a mother at home with her two young boys and I asked her how she found the phone sessions, and she said, “It’s just the same”.

Martha is one of the many parents I speak to who is benefitting from the time at home with their children. We often agree to forego a session because she is making ice cream with her boys or baking a cake. When she first came to West London Action for Children before Christmas, she was tearing her hair out trying to cope with her children’s behaviour.  Martha attended our parenting group and then some counselling with me, and then Lockdown came along. She just told me that it has given her “the perfect opportunity to get to know my children”. In today’s phone session, she didn’t mention her children’s bad behaviour once. Instead she spoke of her feelings of love and protectiveness towards them.

Another mother and I have regular phone sessions that she says have changed her family life.  This woman, Jane, had a chaotic childhood with little calm parenting and she is open about wanting to parent with less anger, less shouting and less swearing.  She said she was finding bedtimes very trying, with her children refusing to stay in bed.

I suggested she spend time with her children as they settle, which she had never done before.  Now she sits with them and listens to them chatter and tell stories, then she leaves, and they go to sleep. I also helped her write a timetable out for the day, and we worked out a simple technique for reducing her shouting – she has to put a red sticker on her calendar each time she shouts and the reason for it. This has reduced her angry outbursts dramatically.

Jane feels proud of her achievements and sounds happy as she tells me how her children’s behaviour is improving as they enjoy the arts and crafts time, the cycle rides together, and the chance to chat to her as they drift off to sleep.

Some clients have opened up as much if not more than in a face-to-face counselling session. They often say, as they do in the office, that they feel relieved at the end of a session to have spoken about their deep emotions and inner conflicts.

But the lack of physical presence of my clients is hard for me – I’ve realized how much positive energy I get from being with them.  I think many homeworkers, including us therapists, are finding work more draining without the warmth and pleasure that human company brings.

Zoom does come to the rescue again. I have had zoom sessions with new clients which have really surprised me. I have met some young teenagers for the first time on zoom and seeing their faces and expressions and some time for humour enhances the work no end. Emotions can be conveyed via video as I’ve discovered: I feel moved by the emotions people convey. Clearly something transpersonal comes through video.  As one client said, “I can’t believe I’m crying at an Ipad”.

A big loss with homeworking is not being with my colleagues. I miss the banter and the shift in mood of a light-hearted conversation after an emotional session. I miss the faces, smiles, the laughter and the warmth of my work family. 

But needs must and we will be back soon!