Charity Reveals True Extent Of Pandemic-Year Demand

EAST of England charity Ormiston Families today reveals the brutal reality of how mental health, isolation and family breakdown played out across the region during the last 12 months, and how pivotal their services became for so many.

The charity, which is launching its 40th anniversary campaign this week, has confirmed that just under 30,000 support sessions and prison visits were carried out through their work.

In 2020-21, the charity worked with 7,421 children, young people and families through 29,487 support sessions.

Children clearly became significantly affected by the pandemic, with the charity’s Norfolk-based mental health service seeing 50% more referrals in October and March as young people returned to schools.

The extent of the service need has been revealed to coincide with the start of Ormiston Families’ year-long anniversary campaign, which carries the theme of #AllDoorsOpen.

Communities and businesses are being urged to consider the lives and experiences of others in their neighbourhood, and to seek to play a part in making the door to a better brighter future more accessible to all.

Throughout the year ahead, the charity will be hosting a number of events, fundraising activities, talks and online activities, designed to increase the conversation about supporting those whose lives need more hope and help.

The charity, which covers Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Bedfordshire, is also appealing for former service users to come forward and share their experiences as part of the year’s campaign by getting in touch at

Allan Myatt, Chief Executive of Ormiston Families, said: “There is no doubt that this has been an incredibly challenging last 12 months for so many families across the region, the country, and indeed, the world.

“But for those who had already felt challenged, the pandemic has clearly exacerbated the impact, and our team have seen that play out in a huge level of support sessions required.”

Ormiston Families delivers a range of services, including a Children and Young People’s Mental Health Service; Mpower and YouCanBe –wellbeing services for women affected by or at risk of having a child removed into care; and Breaking Barriers, which works with children affected by the imprisonment of a close family relative.

With the pandemic causing prison visits to be paused for several months, this in particular has had significant impact on families the organisation supports.

Allan continued: “This year’s campaign is all about encouraging members of the community, schools, businesses and friends and family networks, to really reflect on what might be the doors and the barriers which prevent individuals from reaching their potential, or reduce their sense of hope and resilience.

“We have a year-long fundraising drive running, with which anyone can get involved, plus some great events and activities which will all help to increase our awareness and generate income to make sure even more people across the East of England can be helped by our work.”

Activities set to be held in the campaign year, include:

  • A Brighter BBQ – Host a fundraising BBQ between 23rd July & 31st August
  • The Whole Hog – An opportunity to join a team of 40 to take part in this popular obstacle event on 10th October
  • In conversation with Justine Picardie – a special event where the author will discuss her new book Miss Dior. It takes place on 2ndSeptember.
  • Walk with a Fork – returning on 5th September, this great fun foodie event will be staged at Helmingham Hall and promises to be better than ever.

You can see more about Ormiston Families’ 40th anniversary celebrations and other events which will feature throughout the coming year, by going to

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