Princess Project

After a successful pilot of the Parentalk programme, the second stage was to provide a six week course for all parents of children aged up to the early teenage years in a wide variety of locations. The course provides a non-judgmental, welcoming environment where parents are able to discuss issues with other parents and acquire new skills and confidence in their parenting which will impact the whole family. The programme is especially beneficial for those families not eligible for a referral to a more intensive parenting course but who would benefit from early intervention and low-level support. Some previous attendees now help as part of the volunteer team running the course.

The Need:

The Parentalk programme took place in areas of multiple deprivation, where there are many vulnerable families. Park Wood, where the organisation is based and where sessions are held is one of the most deprived in the UK (bottom 2% of LSOAs), indicating that people in this area face disadvantages in many areas including; income, employment, health, education, crime, access to services and living environment. It has the highest under 18s conception rate in the area and has a high proportion of lone parent households. In terms of child poverty (Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index Domain) Park Wood is the second most deprived ward in Kent (excluding Medway).The mums accessing our services are often doing their very best in extremely challenging circumstances, including a lack of positive parental role models which makes parenting a challenge for them in turn.

Princess Project1 Princess Project2

The Difference Made:

This grant has made a big difference to the organisation. It has allowed them to reach more parents and provide them with a better service and parenting education that is free of charge. This has also led to improved partnership working, with referring agencies such as schools, health visitors, social services and early help teams, who appreciate the fact the Princess Project can provide parenting support at no cost to them. It has raised the profile in the local community, and also helped them to tell more parents about the other ways in which the organisation can support them. 

It has also made a big difference to the parents they support - 86% of parents who completed the survey showed improved emotional health and wellbeing scores at the end of the course compared to the beginning, as measured by a modified Warwick-Edinburgh scale. All attendees who completed the end of course evaluation questionnaire indicated that taking part in Parentalk had had a beneficial effect on their parenting and that they would recommend the course to a friend. We have introduced several parents to additional sources of support such as special educational needs support groups, bereavement counselling and relationship counselling, all of which has had a beneficial impact on the quality of life of the parents and their families. 

Happier, more confident parents means happier, more confident, more secure children, which in turn benefits the wider community including the local school communities. By investing in parenting education and support this grant will have had a positive 'ripple effect' which is difficult to measure but undoubtedly of great benefit to the wider community.

Kim is a young mum living in a rural area. She has a 2 year old daughter and when she was referred to the Parentalk group by her Early Help worker had recently separated from her partner (her daughter's dad) and was feeling isolated and low. She was not at all confident in her own parenting. The very first session she attended she got talking to one of the Princess Project volunteers and confided in her about her relationship difficulties. The volunteer together with the course leader made a referral for Kim to a relationship counsellor.

As the course progressed, Kim started contributing more to the group discussions, and it was clear that she was growing in confidence week by week. At the end of the course she exchanged numbers with some of the other mums. In her own words, the main thing she took away from Parentalk was; "Other people feel the same as me. I am not alone." 

After the course had ended she came along to Totcycle, the baby and toddler goods exchange and their Christmas family film night- she was definitely not lonely or isolated anymore! 

Following the counselling, and her decreased anxieties about parenting, her relationship with her partner, and their family life in general, had greatly improved. 

Like any parent, Kim will still have her ups and downs but at least now she knows that she is not the only one who struggles and knows where to go for help and support.

Feedback from other members includes;

“Parentalk helped me to think more about what I do day to day. I have taken bits of the course on board to make my family life better.”

“I learnt that it's OK to ask for help as there is no such thing as a perfect parent.”