for commissioners

Information for funding sources about our work, vision and the way we are planning to deliver our services to support parents in the community.
Who We Are

We are a small team of professionals each with approx. 20 years of experience working in Youth Work, Facilitation, Counselling & Psychology. Our catchment area is Bath & North East Somerset, although a lot of interactions with parents can occur online. There is a significant need for parental wellbeing services, and in particular we have identified a lack in the provision of psychological support, i.e. ongoing groups and forums, in our local area. Current services provide valuable guidance and practical support in how to improve parental care of children, but no organisation we are aware of prioritises the mental health and emotional wellbeing of the parents themselves. The purpose of our work is to fill this gap by offering ongoing parental wellbeing support.

Executive Summary

By providing appropriate support for parents at each stage of their child's life, by offering opportunities for parents to learn about their own emotional and psychological needs and behaviours, holding a regular space for them to share with other parents, by encouraging parents to make self-care a priority in their daily lives, and by educating parents-to-be about the responsibilities of parenthood as part of their preparation for this important role, the Parents Support Network's aim is to foster healthier relationships - for parents with themselves and their families...a win for the whole community. By supporting parents to feel more connected and empowered, they feel greater self-efficacy in the role they play as a parent.

Community Vision

Our vision as a Community Interest Company (CIC) is to develop a social enterprise that puts (and keeps) parents at the heart of the community, as they play a key role in shaping the future. Our person-centred approach means that many of the programmes offered by the Parents Support Network will be created in collaboration with local parents, to be current and in touch with what is being called for. This co-producing model is a foundational principle of our practice, so that we can continually be responsive to what is needed and work together with parents to create a robust and breathable support framework. It is an approach that we feel many commissioners will value and endorse.

Services We Offer

A wide range of services are on offer, which can be tailor made to suit individual parents, groups, organisations or schools. We can provide one-to-one counselling support for parents or couples, as well as ongoing family wellbeing support. Our aim is to provide parent programmes free of charge, in order to be accessible to all demographics. The professional packages provide training for organisations that are involved in the wellbeing of parents, so that we can better equip parents and their communities with greater confidence, skills and awareness in every aspect of their lives. Our training programmes are developed to be inclusive to each service area, in order to deliver high quality resources, advice and support.

Quality Provision 

All of our work to date and in the future is/will be evaluated pre-, mid- and post-intervention, using robust psychological measures that are tried and tested in the field. Examples of measurement scales we use are: The Parental Stress Scale (Berry & Jones, 1995); The Parenting Sense of Competence Scale (Gibaud-Wallston & Wandersman, 1978), an adapted version of Bandura's Self-Efficacy Scale (2006), and The COPE Inventory (Carver, 1989). Results of our latest evaluation and survey processes are available on request to funding sources. Below are a few case study examples from our pilot work carried out in late 2018.

Outcomes 

The far-reaching legacy of our work in terms of long term outcomes for the community, will be to provide a quality and reliable service and ongoing support network to continuously foster the wellbeing of parents. If we help build a community of parents who feel empowered, self-aware, confident, and resilient, the ripple effect out into the rest of society will be widespread - from the microcosm of each relationship and family, out into the broader domains of education, healthcare and the economy. By prioritising the wellbeing of parents, every aspect of the community reaps the benefits.

Following a qualitative case study carried out with 2 parents, 18 months after our original pilot series of Parents Workshops.

(Full transcripts of the interviews available on request.) 

Thank you to the parents who participated in the case study and gave permission to publish their feedback.

case study – parent 1

Key points of parent's learning from the workshops:​

  • Refers back to own feelings more and validates them

  • Feels it is ok to not have the answers straight away when child asks, and takes time to consider own response/decision

  • Appreciates the importance of continually building a relationship with child and keeping dialogue open

  • More able to admit and learn from mistakes with child together

  • Listens more to what body tells them about how they are feeling

  • Is more able to deal with days when it feels like they are on a wild horse ride

  • Values the opportunity to meet other parents, to share experiences and learning during difficult times

 

Quote from Parent  : :

"Yes, I think it's a really valuable service that you're offering and it was really sad at the point when the workshops stopped happening, as I had actually started talking to friends and they'd be saying, 'Oh I'm really struggling with…' and I'd be like, 'Oh, you need the parenting course, you need the course'. But it wasn't on offer then, so actually it's really good if there's somewhere now again to point people to and say, 'Actually, this is a pretty good place'. Because I think we all have moments as parents where we just feel completely bewildered and at sea, and when the sea suddenly goes quite choppy we're not completely sure in those moments how we're going to get through it".

case study – parent 2

Key points of parent's learning from the workshops:​

  • Feels it is ok now to take space for oneself and not get dragged into situations or conversations

  • Is comfortable now in saying sorry to child if they got it wrong

  • Gives themselves permission to not have to be a perfect parent

  • Finds benefit in journaling, to record feelings at end of the day

  • Realises that their wellbeing has a huge influence on how the house runs

  • Knows what to do to support themselves if having a bad day

  • Understands own triggers and more responsible for reactions

  • No longer frightened of being judged or to ask for help 

  • Groupwork has shown that we are all still learning as parents and that this is ok

Quote from Parent  : :

"Certain things trigger me, which I think I've discovered is my problem, not my children's problem. Certain things really get me going. And if I think of it after an event, I think it's probably my childhood that those triggers came from. And so it seems a bit random to my children when I suddenly pounce on them about something. So, yes, quite often a lot of the problems are my problems, not necessarily my children's problems. It has helped to become more aware of that and deal with what comes up".

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For further information about any of our services, to discuss a programme for your organisation or community group, and to find out what events are scheduled for this year, do get in touch!

Tel: 01225 337505; based in Bath, Somerset, UK

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