Volunteering in Children’s Centres

Children’s Centres and Volunteering is just the start…

Helping each other manage a life(Image courtesy of Pleasent Valley Children’s Centre)

What better way is there for parents to get involved in their local Children’s Centre than through volunteering programmes?

There is a wealth of activities and services for young children and families from Stay and Play sessions to visits to local outside spaces.

Children’s Centres are an excellent place for families and parents to make that first step in involvement. They have well defined systems for volunteering and training programmes to enable parents to know they are doing the right thing!

Many centres are now very encouraging to parents to join their team of volunteers and become active in the life of the centre.

The real beauty of the system is that in all communities, whether a highly populated inner city area or rural countryside, there is a Children’s Centre for all young families.

Involvement does develop even further and all Children’s Centres are enabling a Parent’s Forum to be in place, many are extending this to parental involvement on the partnership board. It is in fact a requirement from government and empowers the parents to have a voice in the direction of their Children’s Centre.

Sure Start Children’s Centres have been in place since 2006 and although some have experienced some changes in organisation and governance, for the most part they are still a supportive presence for local communities.

Their work is undoubtedly recognised and desperately needed, they have become a real zone for support in a friendly and positive role. Their work with outreach and families prevents many problems from developing to more serious issues. The partnership with health teams and Early Years teams gives children a much better chance in life.

SmithMartin Partnership LLP is working on a pilot project with a national campaigning organisation on how volunteering can be extended and the positive role that it portrays to all parents.

The Dept. for Education has recently published a paper;

Increasing Parental and Community Involvement in Sure Start Children’s Centres.

This can be downloaded here…(pdf file).

It discusses ways that parents can achieve even more in the development of the Children’s Centre. It describes ways in which volunteering, parent’s forum and partnership board involvement, can be extended into parents becoming even more involved in the organisational structure of the centre.

Much to be considered and interesting to chart the next stages of Children’s Centre development.

Sue Martin

SmithMartin Partnership – Broadening horizons in communities

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