Ardleigh Green Family Centre
Working Together, Learning Together, Growing Together
In partnership with Havering College and the Baptist Church our school established a Family Centre for the Ardleigh Green Community in September 2009. The Family Centre which provides a wide variety of activities currently attracts over 400+ people on a weekly basis. The Family Centre is now a registered charity run by Ardleigh Green Learning Federation.The Centre celebrated its tenth anniversary in September 2019.
Services Currently Offered
- Well Being Hub
- Baby Club
- Bumps and Babes (Breastfeeding Centre)
- SKIPS Adoption Support Group (Special Kids Important Parents)
- Adoption Support and Advice.
- Little Stars – Sensory Group for Children with additional needs
- Infant Nurture Group
- Tatty Bumpkins/Talking Toddlers/Getting Ready for School Courses
- Counsellor Support (21 Counsellors currently working from the Family Centre)
- Community Choir
- Police and PCSO
Our Well-being Hub has been instrumental in providing our families with information, support and advice and we are currently seeking to extend the hub beyond the Ardleigh Green Community. The Well Being Hub seeks to is develop collaborative working practices providing a range of effective signposting opportunities from available support services.
We have currently supported eight families through ‘Section 21’ homelessness. We have developed a strong partnership with Family Mosaic (Peabody Trust) who now partner with us through the Well Being Hub. We are also currently supporting families through the mediation process and have been able to identify and work with a solicitor who specialises in family law, supporting families requiring legal aid.
The SKIPS Adoption Support Group works with Havering Post Adoption and Permanency to provide a group where parents can receive help and share their experiences. The group specialises in early placement and support when new parents are at their most vulnerable.
The AS Drop-in (Adoption Support) focuses on accessing therapeutic support for our adoptive parents from across Havering, (a receiving borough), and we have a high number of adoptive families moving into the area. This Clinic is also going to be providing support and training for teachers. We are excited to be embarking on a programme using the latest virtual reality technology to show the effects of early trauma on a child’s developing brain and how teachers can help children in their classes by adapting their teaching and empathic skills.
The Family Centre continues to work with community partners to provide support for our vulnerable families. To date we have provided Foodbank vouchers, Christmas presents and a hardship fund to support families in need particularly at a time of crisis in their lives.
Baby Club is our parent /carers group for babies and children ages 0-5. We have a good transition between Bumps and Babes group (0-1) and Baby Club.
Baby Club is the ‘Flagship’ of the Family Centre where we have seen over 700 local families attend. It is the place where parents tend to have initial contact with the Centre and therefore are able to access available support.
Through Baby Club we have supported a number of vulnerable families; we have had two families referred to us from Social Services. We have greatly supported four families who have recently adopted children. All four families attended our recent “Getting Ready for School” course.
Baby Club enhances the Centre in the following ways:
- Providing a place for parents and carers to meet, socialise and offer peer support.
- Where parents come in to contact wider support agencies. They can be referred to counselling or sign-posted using our Well-being Hub or the Family Information Service.
- Parents can access professional help and support.
- Offering the opportunity to become part of a Parents Community Forum.
- Using the PEEPS Programme parents have literacy and communication skills modelled by professionals.
- Parents have access to courses and information from the local college.
- Parents are rewarded for their support with opportunities to buy good quality toys and books at reduced prices and attend three excursions at a subsidised level and they are invited to be the first on any course run at the Centre.
Currently we have six NCT trainers using the Centre providing local parents support with:-
- Pre-natal Care
- Labour and Birth (including trauma and infant death)
- Fathers’ role in pregnancy, birth and beyond
- Post-natal care and support
- Breast feeding training and counselling
- Early-led weaning.
This partnership also includes liaison with Moses Basket and Lighthouse. The NCT have made us their charity of the year and support the centre by donating as many toys as we can store. This partnership strengthens the relationship that has been fostered over the last six years and ensures we have a free supply of good quality toys to maintain our Baby Club and Toy Library.
Wish List/ New Initiatives
- Capital Funding to maintain the Family Centre. (New Boiler, doors external maintenance, perimeter fencing)
- Capital funding for the creation of an additional therapeutic room:
To be used for Sensory therapy, Adoption training for teachers.
Small teaching room for adult literacy classes.
- Funding to develop a ‘Back from the Edge Programme’ seeking to support the education, training and placement opportunities for women.
- Development of our Well Being Hub. To extend the service to reach more schools, training for staff and to second staff to run other initiatives/training programmes beyond signposting.
- Portable sensory equipment for Little Stars Group.
Portable sensory equipment for Little Stars Group.
- Diana Dawson – Service Lead. Havering CAMHS
- Lynn Mark – Advanced Practitioner Adoption, Permanence & Post Order Support Team
- Havering and Brentwood Bereavement Service
Our Family Centre is managed by Theresa Jordan who is the SENDCO of Ardleigh Green Junior School. The Family Centre is staffed by an excellent team of support staff seconded from the school together with a group of committed volunteers.