Since September 2012 until March 2013 Services for Young Children have been piloting schemes in the Havant and Fareham children’s centres cluster areas for volunteer ‘Parent Champions’.
These local residents have been identified by the children’s centres and inducted as volunteers with the organisations before preparing to become Parent Champions. Their role is to make contact with other local families to find out what services they may need to access and help with signposting to appropriate organisations and agencies.
The original Parent Champions scheme was introduced by the national childcare charity, Family and Childcare Trust (formerly Daycare Trust) , which concentrated particularly on supporting families with accessing childcare information and linking them with their Family Information Service. The Hampshire schemes also include information regarding early years education, home learning environment. children’s centres family support services, pathways to employment (adult learning, Job Centre Plus, etc) and volunteering.
Lessons have been learnt from the pilots and currently induction sessions are taking place for the next cohort of Parent Champions volunteers for the Havant (Action for Children) and Fareham (4Children) schemes. Work has also started to roll out further schemes across the County with preparations being made in the areas of Hart, Eastleigh, TestValley and Basingstoke.
If you, or someone you know, can offer freely 5 hours a week (or more) to chat to families then please direct them to their local children’s centre. As a volunteer, associated expenses are paid and they will be supported through their own personal development.
For further details:
Sam Severe, Children’s Centre Support Officer
Carey Owen, Childcare Information Officer