2nd May 2016
We specialise in effective and sustainable Volunteer Community Parent initiatives that transform care for vulnerable parents through pregnancy, birth and early parenting. Volunteers are mothers, fathers, grandparents or carers who engage with parents during early pregnancy and then offer a continuum of focused support through childbirth and early family life. We prioritise communities facing higher levels of deprivation. We work with local grass roots organisations to ensure each local Programme is delivered to high-quality standards. Our Central Hub provides all manuals, expertise, extensive resources, training, City & Guilds accreditation, evaluation, supervision and quality monitoring. Intensive support is required during the critical first two years ensuring successful implementation
We won the Big Venture Challenge 2013 and are one of NESTA's Social Action Innovation projects funded by the Cabinet Office. After running two outstanding Parents 1st Programmes in Essex and Tower Hamlets we are now supporting two further areas across England to develop early preventative peer support through pregnancy, birth and beyond. External impact evaluation has evidenced highly statistically significant impact on parents' resilience during pregnancy, birth and early parenting and there is good evidence of reduced isolation and shaping norms for parenting including a visible increase in breastfeeding rates. Our approach shows great potential for partnership with other services and has been endorsed as level 2 on NESTA's standards of evidence.
Birth rates are rising, creating pressures on maternity services. Child birth can be a difficult experience for those who are lonely and wary of professionals. Poor physical and emotional wellbeing impacts negatively on parents and babies.Statutory sector professionals typically intervene when families are in crisis. Parents 1st focuses on addressing this issue by building strengths in communities through high quality peer support. We focus entirely on early prevention. Our award winning social enterprise is dedicated to building successful Community Parent volunteer peer support initiatives in less advantaged communities. Our national work involves supporting other organisations to implement and deliver the initiative, adapting it to suit each local context.