Parent Champions’ is a volunteering project established by the Family and Childcare Trust and has become hugely successful in the last seven years.
As one of their trainers for the project I have been in Newham on a cold Friday in February at the Little Sheringham Children’s Centre to work with a group of volunteers who will make contact with parents in the community and provide them with the way to find out information.
‘Parent volunteers who spend a few hours a week linking with other parents, to tell them about local childcare and other family services. Being parents, they can chat in a more informal way and share information and their own positive experiences about using local services. They meet parents in all sorts of places such as playgrounds, markets, libraries and local play groups. They are supported by the local authority, a children’s centre or a local community organisation.’ Family and Childcare Trust website.
Based on the premise that ‘ word of mouth’ is a good way to spread information, this project has proved that it does two things really well; one is to let people know what is possible for the their family, and two, to realise potential in the volunteers themselves as they gain in confidence and in skills.
As I was about to leave the training in Newham, Stephen Timms, the MP for Newham walked in to the centre. A real accolade for Children’s Centres being at the heart of the community
Sue Martin SmithMartin Partnership LLP- Bringing a light into communities.