Concerned about a child or young person? Call 0345 603 7627

New Family Innovation Fund-Xtra gives Essex families a little extra help

Last updated by on Thursday, June 11, 2020


A new range of additional support has been launched by Essex County Council (ECC) this week to help children, young people and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Family Innovation Fund-Xtra (FiF-Xtra) services, offer early support across a number of key areas including children’s mental health, healthy relationships and coping with change. They are available to children and young people aged between 0 and 19-years, and up to 25-years for young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND).

The services are aimed at helping young people and families who are not already receiving specialist or statutory support. They can be accessed directly by families, through referral from a professional such as a teacher, via the Essex Welfare Service, the Getting Help in Essex Directory, or by calling one of the organisations themselves.

ECC is working with the voluntary sector and community partners who will deliver the services locally so that families receive help when and where they need it most.

The launch of FiF-Xtra follows the existing support already available in Essex through the established Family Innovation Fund (FiF).

Support can be delivered one-on-one, through group work, as a family group, or as a couple, around understanding Coronavirus; managing and coping with change; separation and loss; managing and coping with anxiety; healthy family relationships and staying active and curious.

To receive support via the Family Innovation Fund-Xtra service, young people and their families can contact one of the organisations listed below, depending on their needs.

  • Wilderness Foundation – offers counselling and therapeutic support, and may bring nature, art and other creative tools into sessions. Appointments are available 9am-5pm Monday - Friday. Evenings and weekends by appointment. Contact 0300 1233073 or

  • Renew Counselling – an experienced and accredited counselling service for all ages. Appointments are available Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm and Monday-Thursday 5pm-8pm.  Saturdays by appointment. Contact 01245 359353 or

  • Open Door – offers coaching, counselling and mediation. Appointments are available Monday-Thursday 9am-7pm, Friday 9am-5pm. Saturday and Sunday by appointment. Contact 01375 390040 or

  • Relate – offer accredited mediation and counselling. Appointments are available 9am-9pm Monday- Friday and 9am-5pm on Saturdays. Contact 01245 676930 or 01708 441722 or
  • YMCA – can help families identify beneficial strategies and solutions for their needs in individual, group or family sessions. Appointments are available Monday – Friday and Saturdays by agreement. Contact 01245 355677 or

  • Evolve Intervention – provide early intervention for children and young people through mentoring, coaching, group work and tuition. Appointments are available Monday -Friday 9am to 6pm, with some availability between 6pm- 8pm and on Saturdays 10am to 4pm. Contact us on 01245 526069 or