The Kids Matter Parenting Programmes are run in the heart of communities or prisons. They are for parents and carers facing disadvantage and wanting to learn skills to help their children thrive. The groups run for 6 weeks and are run by trained facilitators in an informal and warm environment.
We asked a Kids Matter Facilitator some questions on why they run the course, and here are their answers...
1. What made you decide to run a course for families in your church?
As a charity (Restore Collective) we work with families from disadvantaged backgrounds in our local community, running family events and, when necessary, signposting or offering one-to-one family support. We have observed that families need more opportunities to feel enabled and equipped, and parenting was a key area we saw this in; where we could support more. If we could offer a programme at an intervention stage it could potentially stop issues getting to crisis level but also bring new healthy dynamics to family life. Partnering with Kids Matter was a strategic step for us to build on the foundations we had. We also saw the Kids Matter programme as a tool to build authentic community. To date, we have partnered with St Peter’s Church in Mancetter (one of the top two deprived wards in the whole of Warwickshire); the church has a desire to reach out to more families on the estate/school and has welcomed the Kids Matter programme. The church now has deeper family connections in the community as a result of this.
2. Why this one?
The Kids Matter programme did not feel overly complex for the kind of families we are working with. It felt relational and informal; the parenting tools and behaviour suggested by the programme are simple and achievable, and can have profound impact on family life and a child’s well-being. Some parenting programmes are too complicated to be helpful for families facing disadvantages. I also like the fact that community and relationships with families continue after the programme has run, and guests are encouraged to continue meeting as well. Mums, dads and carers are not then back to parenting in isolation; they have an ongoing support network.
3. What were the costs involved?
Training on zoom £180 for four days.
Partnership fee £52 a month – covers a Support Coach and all the Kids Matter resources needed for a programme.
Basic running costs for a programme: refreshments and stationary resources i.e., folders, post-its, pens etc.
4. How did it go? What were the highlights?
Parents did not feel alone. Parents found community. Parents felt safe. Parents helped and supported each other. New friendships formed. Guests were signposted to other support, which helped see positive change (in addition to that inspired by Kids Matter). Families developed better routines. Mums learned to respond differently to children's behaviour and saw positive, improved change. Parents saw strategies included in the Kids Matter programme work as they applied them at home. Parents expressed an intent to spend more time together as a family and responded well to the Love Languages session. Parents felt more confident in their parenting and finished the programme with raised aspirations. Parents evaluated their life/roles and realised the importance of loving themselves; taking time to invest in who they are as individuals, not just parents. Kids Matter gave parents permission be honest and space to reflect. Now, there is more holistic support in place for families who’ve done the programme – provided by Restore Collective, school and church, ongoingly. Eighty-five per cent of parents completed the course.
5. What would you say to anyone looking at this course and wondering whether it might work in their community?
Go for it! Kids Matter's Parenting Programme is a great tool, which is designed to encourage community confidence and competency, and ticks lots of boxes for meeting the needs of families facing disadvantages; it's a great way to get to know families and be more informed as how best to support them.
To find out more about Kids Matter, visit www.kidsmatter.org.uk