Charlie is an eight year old boy with autism, he was struggling during lockdown and needed some help. His mother Jennie is a member of support staff at Essex Police and had heard of the work Mandy and Baloo were doing to support the wellbeing of officers, staff and families.
Baloo has her own story having been run over while on duty by a criminal, she had to medically retire as a police dog as she lost a leg in the incident.
Baloo and her handler Mandy, who is a retired officer from the Met, now volunteer their services across Essex Police. They assist people from the force who may be struggling to cope due to issues at work or in their private life. Their work became more important during lockdown as it wasn’t possible to visit the workplace to provide some well needed relief, so Mandy arranged to meet people online.
Jennie heard about this and asked if the would arrange a meet up with Charlie. Charlie, Mandy, and Baloo began meeting virtually once a week and Charlie began to open up about everything that was going on in his life and how he felt. He quickly became friends with Baloo and Mandy and the sessions brightened up his day and were the highlight of his week.
He was so thankful for his chats with Baloo and Mandy that he wrote to the Chief Constable of Essex Police to thank them and say how they helped him.
Dear Mr Chief Constable
During lockdown last year I found things difficult.
I wanted to tell you how helpful my video calls sessions have been with Baloo.
I now have support from a counsellor at school. This only started in October 2020. From March 2020 I have had video sessions with Mandy and Baloo.
I have found this fun and they make me feel very happy and cheerful afterwards. My Mummy arranged the call because she works for Essex Police. I am grateful that I have been able to have these calls with Mandy and Baloo. Mandy has been very kind and helpful.
I hope to be able to meet Baloo soon once the restrictions are over.
I wanted to let you know that Mandy and Baloo have been helpful and kind during this time and I am very grateful.
Charlie – Aged 8
Charlie was delighted to receive a letter back and the Chief Constable acknowledged the fantastic work of Mandy and Baloo and their ongoing commitment to help the police family.