The centre runs a befriending service for parents to have a volunteer accompany them to centre services and groups. This helps to raise the parent’s confidence in attending services and allows them to access services that they may otherwise not go to alone. Volunteer befrienders offer support, understanding and a sympathetic ear. They also tell parents about other Children’s Centre services.
All volunteer befrienders are trained. They meet with the parent before the group and go in with them. The befriender is someone to listen and talk to and will support parents for as long as they need, offering a confidential service. The arrangement is reviewed regularly to see how things are working out.
A parent’s story-
“I was apprehensive about going to a group with my daughter – I didn’t know anyone and felt there may be an age gap between me and other parents. I heard about the befriending service and emailed the Children’s Centre. A worker there listened to my concern and introduced me to a befriender. A befriender is a trained volunteer parent who supports you to go to groups. My befriender met with me beforehand and then came to the group with me and my daughter. I found this service helpful and useful. It’s nice to have contact with other parents. I don’t have to walk in to a group on my own, someone knows my name and I have someone to talk to. I now attend two groups with my daughter and feel happy, settled and confident to interact with other parents.”