FAMILY charity Fife Gingerbread is normally busy making sure children and parents can engage in a huge variety of groups to avoid social isolation but their work has been turned upside down by the coronavirus crisis.

Gone are the times of toddler groups, after-school activities and face-to-face support but they've been replaced by Facebook, Zoom coffee groups, phone calls, Snapchat and anything else you can think of!

It's been a huge challenge not just for the families the charity help but also for the workers who spend their lives trying to best cater to the needs of disadvantaged Fifers.

Suzanne Hume works with around 13 families in the Cowdenbeath area alongside her colleague, Lucy Brogan, who is out supporting 15 families across West Fife.

Suzanne told the Press: "We're normally running all sorts of activities through the week to help the teen parents we support!

"As you can imagine, it's a social event for parents to get involved and spend time with others that they don't often get and it suddenly all stopped.

"We're constantly trying to fight social isolation for them and now you're suddenly telling them the opposite of that to keep everyone safe.

"We thought, at first, how can we support people when we can't go out to see them?

"But we were certain we would try and do all we could to not put an end to all the progress we've made so we've engaged as much as we possibly can over technology."

Over social media, staff have learned Tik-Tok dances, read stories and sent out cooking videos among other things.

Families have been able to support each other too as they share their experiences through the groups to create much-needed community.

"It's mostly been about providing lots of emotional support which all of us need at this time," Suzanne said.

"Some people have been in the middle of a crisis with issues surrounding housing and Universal Credit on top of everything else, which is extremely pressurising.

"It's certainly been a strange way of working but we were determined to carry on even if we couldn't see people face-to-face.

"You can imagine that has been just as hard for us not getting that contact when we see these families so regularly normally.

"And as well as supporting my existing teens under my care I have had three new referrals who need just as much support as normal.

"Thankfully, in the last few weeks, we have started to be able to say socially-distanced hellos and that has just been great for everyone!"

Fife Gingerbread has been able to deliver play and care packages as lockdown restrictions ease and, most importantly, have a face-to-face chat with families in their gardens.

Bikes and school equipment have been sourced as well as directions to other services that can also offer help at this critical time.

Suzanne said: "What has got us through this time we've found is the resilience of the incredible families that we work with.

"The trust and strong relationships with us has given these mothers, fathers and carers strength and confidence.

"They're already dealing with hard situations but they've coped with the changes incredibly.

"For our teen parents, they've shown so much maturity – what is normally quite difficult for adults to deal with they have managed really well.

"You can't underestimate how much their lives have been impacted.

"One girl was pretty much at a group every day before lockdown but they've just taken on board all the alternative support we've given.

"This will certainly be memorable for them, they've proven that they can keep their kids safe and well and that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

"When they look back at what they've done they should be incredibly proud."

Suzanne added: "Going forward, we wonder if it will be difficult trying to get people to come to groups and back out of the house after everything they have been told over the last few months.

"Some people might be ready to get back straight away but I think others will take longer.

"For all of us, we're not quite sure how things are going to look in the coming months so a lot of things are very much still unknown.

"We're looking forward to moving on though whatever that might be!"