Zofia Jackiewicz

Finalist’s blog #1 – Moving on up together

Hi, I am Nic O’Brien, Joint Scheme Manager at Home-Start Chelmsford. We are very excited to be chosen as one of the 10 finalists of the Families First Essex Challenge Prize.

We currently provide home-visiting volunteers and a family group for parents and children to attend. However, after conducting a feedback survey with parents it was identified that parents would like a group without children present to share their concerns and issues with other like-minded parents. They also fed back that they would like the opportunity to try different activities to aid relaxation.

With all of this mind the idea for ‘Moving on up Together’. A weekly well-being group for Mums, with a crèche for pre-school children was born. A weekly session to give the opportunity for group discussion, taster sessions in art and craft activities, holistic/relaxation therapies, exercise and dance sessions and introductions to community services in Chelmsford.

The parents that we support need some time for themselves, away from their children. The chance to share their problems and find out that others are struggling with exactly the same issues. A chance to experiment and try something that they may never have thought about before; yoga, Zumba… even belly dancing!  A chance to be pampered; make-up session, hand massage or even a manicure. A chance to hear about what is on offer at the local leisure centre, what is the timetable? When is the crèche available? When do local clubs and groups run?

Parents  need to be able to make friends with people they can relate to, discover activities that makes them happy and access opportunities within the community to pursue something for them as individuals.

Developing this idea is very exciting. We are going to be working with parents to find out exactly what they want and how they want to receive the support. By being a Families Included Prize finalist we are getting a great opportunity to spend four months developing our idea with the time to consult with parents, local organisations and referrers into the Home-Start service.

Actually being given £1500 through the Essex Challenge Prize to develop our idea also enables us to invest time and resources where we need them. Normally charities such as Home-Startdo not have any funds to actually fully develop an idea which leads to projects not being able to get off the ground or they are not fully developed to their best of their potential.

This is a very exciting time and I look forward to bringing to life our ‘Moving on up Together’ project.

Home-Start Chelmsford supports families with pre-school children who are struggling to cope with family life for a variety of reasons including social isolation, loneliness and low self-esteem. Over recent years parents have been telling us that they are struggling with low mood, motivation and low self-esteem due to being socially isolated and not having a network of support around them.