Making Sense of Covid 19: Sharing Family Experiences of Shielding to Influence Services

Hello, we know that this has been a tough year for everyone.  It’s been especially difficult for families who’ve been shielding. We know that shielded families have felt very alone and unheard many times. 

The need to find your space on the journey of life.

Online workshops

Making Families Count has received funding from The National Lottery’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund to host some online workshops for family members who have been shielding. We will be using what we learn in the workshops to develop a resource that will help health and social care providers improve their services for people who have to shield. Thanks to the Government for making this possible.

If you have been shielding yourself or loved ones, we’d like to invite you to join in these friendly small online Zoom workshops that are safe and supportive. This will be an opportunity to share your experiences of shielding, good or bad, with other families who have gone through similar experiences. You’ll be able to record your stories in creative ways and meet some new people.

The project is in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund and HM Government.

Sharing Stories to Improve Support

A set of cards.
  • Share your stories at the end of the project with health and social care services to improve future support to families.
  • We also plan an online sharing event that lets you tell health and social care organisations about your experiences and share your work.
  • To share the learning more widely, we will hold an online exhibition of your work on the Making Families Count and Sustainable Source websites.

Who set the project up?

Making Families Count has set up a project, funded the by National Lottery Community Fund and facilitated by Sustainable Source. We are two small not-for-profit organisations. There is more information about us below.

What will we be doing?

A reel of string and some scissors.

This will be an opportunity to share your stories and to shape how you want to tell them. We will also use a variety of gentle creative exercises, to help you express in more than just words, your experiences. There may be laughter, there may be sadness, anger, or just a need to talk. We welcome all the stories and emotions you might have. 

And please do not worry – you do not need to be an artist to take part – just willing to give a few simple creative activities a go.

When will we meet?

13th January 2021 Welcome Sessions: Choose a time that works for you

  • 11 am
  • 2 pm  

These are 45 minutes long. This is a chance to get to know people in a relaxed event and find out more.

The 11 am session will be aimed particularly at people with learning disabilities but is open to all.

Interested? Contact Jan Sunman using our contact form or by email: [email protected] 


We will send you a Welcome Pack when you sign-up with some ideas and details of links to the online workshops.

We will be holding accessible workshops for people with learning disabilities on:

Monday 25th January from 10.30 am until 11:00am, will be a get to know Zoom session.

Tuesday 26th January and Wednesday 27th January from 10.30 am until 1.00 pm, will be the workshops.

We will hold 2 blocks of sessions for each family who was or is now shielding. You can choose the session dates that work best for you:

1st session: 1st, 2nd and 3rd of February 2021

  • Monday 1st of February from 10.30 am until 11:00 am, will be a get to know Zoom session.
  • Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd of February from 10.30 am until 1.00 pm will be the workshops. 

2nd session: 8th, 9th and 10th of February 2021

  • Monday 8th of February from 10.30 am until 11:00 am, will be a get to know Zoom session.
  • Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th of February from 10.30 am until 1.00 pm, will be the workshops. 

Feel free to bring along family members or supporters.

Final Sharing Event and Exhibition

February 24th from 11 am until 1 pm for everyone taking part and invited health and social care organisations.

If you are not sure if this group is for you, perhaps the following questions may help:

  • Have you been shielding a family member with a disability or chronic health problems?
  • Have you and your family been shielding someone with a learning disability?
  • Maybe your family have been shielding someone with mental health needs?
  • Are you a person with a learning disability who wants to share your story?
  • Perhaps you have lost a loved one either before or during shielding?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, we’d like to hear from you!

Who we are

Making Families Count 

Jan Sunman from Making Families Count (MFC) will be hosting the session.  MFC families share their lived experiences of challenging issues they have faced using health and social care services. They work with services to empower families and to improve the ways that services support families. We always ask people providing services “How would you like to be treated if it was you?”

For more information go to

Sustainable Source

Alex Brooks and Ruth-Shaw Williams from Sustainable Source both have a background in the Self-advocacy Movement. They are both experienced Creative Facilitators. Back in 2016, they identified a need for better support to those who are care-givers. Between them, they have several decades of experience in the Third Sector, as well as a personal understanding of the challenges faced by those in supporting roles.

 For more information go to