Growing parental confidence through a programme of empowerment
Beverley Burton, from the Second Chance Learning Academy, and Alison Poxon, Project Manager at Small Steps Big Changes in Nottingham, discuss the Equipped to Succeed programme that works to support parents’ confidence, wellbeing and aspirations to equip them to be the best possible parents for their children.
Getting ‘Equipped to Succeed’!
As part of the commitment to social and emotional development in babies and young children, Small Steps Big Changes (SSBC) wanted to look at how outcomes could be improved by supporting parents to improve their own confidence, self-esteem, wellbeing, and aspirations so they could be the best possible parents for their children.
However, parenting is challenging, and confidence and self-esteem can be impacted. The Equipped2Succeed programme was identified as a way of providing parents with the knowledge, skills, and tools to deal with these challenges.
Through a local scoping exercise, SSBC contacted the Second Chance Learning Academy (SCLA) and Beverley Burton, creator of ‘Equipped2Succeed’ (E2S) (this includes a framework, programme, workshops and book).
SCLA are a not-for-profit Nottingham-based organisation whose aim is to work with people in the community to empower, enable and equip them to make changes to better progress and thrive in life. The E2S programme focuses on developing the thinking, attitudes and behaviours that enable individuals to overcome barriers and take more responsibility for their holistic wellbeing: personal, social, learning, health and economic. This CPD programme is suitable for delivery across sectors, including in communities and alongside a ten-week, train-the-trainer programme, enabling organisations to use E2S flexibly to support staff and service users alike. It was exactly what we were looking for.
Initially the train-the-trainer programme was delivered to some of the SSBC Family Mentors and local organisations: Shifting Your Mindset (a project supported by the SSBC Ideas Fund, which aims to empower and support dads and male caregivers from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities) and Read On Nottingham (a National Literacy Trust Hub supporting literacy skills). To date, two programmes have been delivered resulting in 17 new E2S trainers graduating and being ready to deliver to colleagues and families.
And these newly graduated trainers have already started to deliver the programme to colleagues in Family Mentor teams, Read On Nottingham Literacy Champions and SSBC Parent Champions.
In addition, an Equipped2Lead two-day CPD programme was delivered to SSBC Family Mentor management leads and the SSBC core team to support their understanding of the aims of the programme and to contribute to their own professional development.
All those who have attended the E2S programme have reported that the programme has had a positive impact on them in a range of ways including feeling more confident and empowered, having more specific life goals, improving their own wellbeing, managing stress better, improving relationships and increased positivity. SSBC Family Mentors have also altered and adapted their approach to working with families in a more empowering way, reporting that this is starting to have a positive impact.
- ‘I thought the training was excellent and was delivered by a wonderful woman who challenges respectfully the way that you think about yourself. I would recommend everyone to attend the workshops as it’s a fantastic way to empower communities to stand up and be counted and to aim high and reach their goals’ - Train the trainer attendee.
- ‘Excellent programme, everyone should have the chance/opportunity to receive this training at any age and to be part of the school curriculum. For sure the world would be a better place’. - Train the trainer attendee.
Ambitions for the future
Delivery of E2S with parent groups in Hyson Green and Arboretum, and St Ann’s started last summer with positive outcomes, while the Aspley team are part-way through their first programme of delivery and Bulwell are busy training their colleagues before embarking on a programme of delivery to parents. It’s anticipated that parents attending the current sessions will benefit in similar ways: increased confidence and positivity, improved wellbeing, improved abilities to build and maintain positive relationships, all of which is invaluable for their parenting role.
Following feedback, and to meet the needs of parents, the initial offer has now been adapted to two separate courses focusing on specific areas of development: a six-week (one session per week) wellbeing focused programme and a six-week employability focused programme.
SSBC are now looking at how the programme could support other areas within the system and discussions are taking place with colleagues leading on the development of Family Hubs on whether the programme could be part of the core offer to parents and families, and parent panel volunteers (the programme is working towards CPD Accreditation).
In addition, work is planned with the Apprentice Senior Midwifery Support Workers, a new workforce supporting community midwifery services, to deliver the programme with them to support both their personal and professional development.
SSBC will also be working with parents and colleagues shortly to evaluate the impact the programme has had on those who have taken part.
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About A Better Start
A Better Start is a ten-year (2015-2025), £215 million programme set-up by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.
Five A Better Start partnerships based in Blackpool, Bradford, Lambeth, Nottingham and Southend are supporting families to give their babies and very young children the best possible start in life. Working with local parents, the A Better Start partnerships are developing and testing ways to improve their children’s diet and nutrition, social and emotional development, and speech, language and communication.
The work of the programme is grounded in scientific evidence and research. A Better Start is place-based and enabling systems change. It aims to improve the way that organisations work together and with families to shift attitudes and spending towards preventing problems that can start in early life. It is one of five major programmes set up by The National Lottery Community Fund to test and learn from new approaches to designing services which aim to make people’s lives healthier and happier
The National Children’s Bureau is coordinating an ambitious programme of shared learning for A Better Start, disseminating the partnerships’ experiences in creating innovative services far and wide, so that others working in early childhood development or place-based systems change can benefit.
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Visit the A Better Start website to find out more.