Story #9

Supporting young children and families in lockdown – Early Years Cocoon CIC

The Covid-19 crisis has uniquely affected children and families by disrupting day-to-day routines and altering usual child care, school and recreational activities. Barking and Dagenham-based Early Years Cocoon CIC, stepped up to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the families with young children in the community.

Early Years Cocoon, a Community Interest Community founded by Natalia Lema, is focused on developing supportive service for families and promoting positive parenting by focusing on the learning and development of the child.

Cocoon used to run their family sessions in the local library, however when the country first locked down in March 2020, Cocoon moved online so families could attend at home. Through the pandemic, the organisation has gradually able to increase their capacity and accommodate a growing number of families. Cocoon’s online sessions have not only supported families in Barking and Dagenham, but have reached other boroughs too.

Despite interactions taking place through a screen, Cocoon believes the bond between families have been strengthened and a strong supportive network has flourished.

Natalia, Founder and Executive Director, commented:

‘What makes me proud is to know that we have got stronger and bigger as a family and that gives me some additional strength to face the challenging times. We have stopped a huge gap of free services in our community and we are working hard to fill that gap.’

Unfortunately Cocoon’s important support services have not been able to reach everyone due to digital exclusion. However, the organisation is looking into providing IT resources and data for ‘hard-to-reach’ families on their radar so they are able to access the support going forwards.

Thanks to funding from the National Lottery, Cocoon plans to deliver sessions face-to-face once again once restrictions are lessened. The organisation is currently working on securing a team of volunteers and booking local venues to make this a reality.

Early Years Cocoon’s 2020 Impact Report

Early Years Cocoon participated in Steps in Sustainability (S2S). On the programme, CSC worked with Cocoon to co-produce a community engagement survey and an organisational impact report, as well as advising on supporting documents that resulted in a successful funding application.

To contact Natalia: