Barnardo’s and National Emergencies Trust partner to launch first UK-wide helpline for Black, Asian and minority ethnic children, young people and families

£1.5million partnership to support those adversely affected by Covid-19 will also enable Barnardo’s to deliver ‘See, Hear, Respond’ support services to NI, Scotland and Wales

The National Emergencies Trust (NET) is announcing a new partnership with children’s charity Barnardo’s, which will receive a share of the £12 million Coronavirus Appeal funds ring-fenced to target specific at-risk groups across the UK.

The £1.5 million grant, supported by the Covid-19 Support Fund, will be used to deliver a vital national helpline and services to support vulnerable children, young people and families impacted by coronavirus. These support services will include:

  • The launch of the first UK-wide helpline and live webchat facility for Black, Asian and minority ethnic children, young people and their families to provide advice, signposting and support from trained specialist advisors and therapists – who are from a diverse set of cultural backgrounds and able to speak a range of languages. Barnardo’s specialist frontline workers are supporting more young people from specific ethnic backgrounds during the pandemic - including those who have suffered racism and bereavement relating to the Coronavirus. It will run for 12 months until September 2021.
  • The See, Hear, Respond telephone support service in NI, Scotland and Wales will provide therapeutic support to families concerned about issues such as children’s mental health, return to school, loneliness and isolation due to the pandemic. The support team will have Welsh speakers on-hand and will refer to Barnardo’s specialist services, or community support if necessary. It will run until May 2021.

The funds supporting Barnardo’s helpline and support services will be drawn from £20 million pledged to the Coronavirus Appeal by the Covid-19 Support Fund, established by the insurance and long-term savings industry. The Fund aims to support those hardest-hit by COVID-19, including families and children living in poverty. A fifth (21%) of parents have sought charity support in recent months due to the pandemic (compared to 16% of all UK adults) – and for three-quarters of these parents it was their first time doing so, according Opinium research for the National Emergencies Trust.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan said:

As thousands of vulnerable children and families across the UK bear the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis, the urgent need for specialist advice and support has never been greater.

“I know from personal experience that families in Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities have been hit hardest by the virus. Black people are four times more likely to die of the virus compared to white people, while the pandemic and recession are worsening existing inequalities. As a result, children are suffering bereavement, mental health problems and fear for the future - yet many remain hidden from essential support services and have been left to suffer in silence.

“Our new helpline for children and families is the first of its kind, offering a UK-wide support service to help these families tackle a unique and complex range of issues.

“This funding will also enable us to launch a telephone and online counselling service for vulnerable children and young people in all communities who are affected by COVID-19 and in need of support in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Barnardo’s is proud to be at the forefront of responding to the challenges faced by vulnerable children and young people. In these uniquely challenging times we are working in partnership with Government, business and other charities to support those who need us most.”

Both helpline and telephone support services will launch this week.

Barnardo’s joins NET’s other new national partners: Age UK, the Heads Together coalition, and Shelter (also supported by the funds pledged by the COVID-19 Support Fund) as well as the LGBT+ Consortium, disability support network, DPO COVID-19 Coalition, Refuge, the refugee and asylum seekers support consortium led by Refugee Council, and Cruse Bereavement Care.

Since March, the NET’s Coronavirus Appeal has raised £93million, allocated £87million and provided more than 10,000 grants to grassroots charities and groups UK-wide that are tackling urgent needs. From 1st September, the Appeal stopped actively raising new funds, however the public can still make donations through the website:

Families can contact See, Hear, Respond NI, Wales and Scotland on 0800 157 7015 or visit

The helpline and live webchat facility for children from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds is on 0800 151 2605 or visit



About the National Emergencies Trust

The National Emergencies Trust is a charity set up to raise funds from the general public in the event of a domestic disaster or emergency. When a disaster hits, the Trust will collaborate with charities and other bodies to raise and distribute money and support victims. The funds collected will be distributed by local partners on the ground in the areas affected by the emergency event. The National Emergencies Trust is a registered charity no. 1182809. For more information, visit

About Barnardo’s

Last year around 300,000 children, young people, parents and carers were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 1,000 services across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes. We work to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year we help thousands of families to build a better future.

Children, young people and families from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups can call the helpline 0800 151 2605 or visit Barnardo’s new 7 day a week helpline for Black, Asian and minority ethnic children and families will run from 1 October, 2020 until September 2021.

Families can contact See, Hear, Respond NI, Scotland and Wales on 0800 157 7015, or visit

The See, Hear, Respond helpline and support service in NI, Scotland and Wales, will build on the therapeutic work being carried out by Barnardo’s See, Hear, Respond programme in England, which is funded by the Department of Education to provide therapeutic support to children and families impacted by COVID-19.

According to ONS figures for England and Wales released in May 2020, Black people are 4 times more likely to die from Coronavirus related deaths than white people.

Barnardo’s is a registered charity No. 216250 and SC037605

Research methodology

Opinium surveyed 2,000 UK adults (nationally representative) between 31 July and 4 August.

Yvonne Braun, ABI Executive Lead, Covid-19 Support Fund said:

The ambition of the insurance and long-term savings industry in establishing the Covid-19 Support Fund was to get help to those who need it most, especially children and families living in poverty. Barnardo’s work is vital in this area and it’s fantastic to see that our donation to the National Emergencies Trust is being used to support these helplines, including the first UK-wide helpline for Black, Asian and minority ethnic children.”

Gerald Oppenheim, Deputy Chair, National Emergencies Trust, said:

This pandemic continues to have far-reaching impacts on family life, from bereavement through to financial challenges. Helplines offer a real lifeline for children and young people who often can’t access support through other routes, so we’re extremely pleased to be able to support Barnardo’s vital services at this difficult time.”