Building bridges

10th May 2012

  • The Sheffield Parent Carer Forum has set up an innovative partnership with nurseries, children’s centres and community groups to try and reach more parent carers from all of Sheffield’s communities.

    Staff at Children’s Centres in Sharrow, Tinsley Green and Darnall as well as Watoto Pre-school in Burngreave worked with the Forum to organise two outings to softplay centres, and encouraged families with young children with additional needs to attend.

    In order to enable everyone to take part, the Forum provided transport as well as free entry and café vouchers. The outings proved very popular, with over 100 people taking part in each one. 95% of parents gave the events a “five out of five”, and comments included: “Nice and relaxed, friendly faces everywhere – can freely chat without worry” and “Had fun and my child had a good time. It was free and I made a friend”.

    In addition, the Forum worked in partnership with SADACCA (Sheffield and District African Caribbean Community Association) to organise an information day at SADACCA’s premises on The Wicker. Parents were able to browse a range of information stalls, relax with free pampering sessions and enjoy a nice lunch with some delicious Caribbean specialities. To keep the kids entertained, parents had access to a free crèche (provided by Watoto Pre-School) as well arts and crafts activities and a playroom for younger children. Please click here to see a few photos of the day.

    Jayne Woodward, co-chair of the Forum, said: “This outreach project has been very successful in that we’ve greatly increased the diversity of our membership – at least 13% of our 650 members belong to an ethnic minority group. However, getting parents to sign up as members is only the first step! We have arranged coffee mornings at all of the settings involved and we are planning more events in order to build on the relationships with these parents and communities.”