Bath Child Contact Centre provides supported contact and is located in central Bath with amenities close by. There are excellent bus and train provisions with a park and ride scheme operating in and out of the city. The location of the centre is in the central part of the city making access a little tricky, however the instructions on how to get to the centre (which can be found on the website) are excellent and if using Google maps it is an easy place to find. There is no car park but city centre parking is available which will need good planning and organisation in order to attend the centre at the correct time.
Bath Child Contact Centre is situated in the United Reformed Church Halls which is a large building with lots of rooms, high ceilings, ornate stonework and lots of windows. There is clear signage at the front of the building to ensure families can locate the centre. The service has a reception area, where a volunteer is sat ready to greet parents as they come in. This is the entrance used for resident parents. The service has a waiting room, which is usually equipped with information for resident parents about the contact centre. Parents using this room will be offered refreshments and some toys are provided. Resident parents are encouraged to stay if it is their child’s first visit to the contact centre.
There is a separate entrance for non-resident parents and on arrival the non-resident parent waits in the quiet room for their child/ren. On the walls leading up the corridor there are some beautiful murals. The corridor between the contact rooms is clear of obstructions, light and has grab rails for those who may need them. The kitchen area is only accessed by the floating member of staff who will make refreshments for the non-resident parent and accessed via a hatch. Refreshments are available to non-resident parents to give to their child should they wish.
The centre usually operates out of two large rooms and allows parents and children to move freely between the two rooms. One is used for louder, more boisterous play and the other is used for quiet play. The Rumpus room is used for trikes, bikes, climbing frames and small trampoline which has enough room for children to be able to move around freely and expend some energy. It also provides for socialisation and some “normality” for them and their non-resident parent. The quiet room is used for calmer activities such as drawing, arts and crafts and quiet play. There is a wide range of equipment, toys, and resources for children to use. Toys are well organised and equipment is safely stored. Boxes are placed on trolleys to ensure that volunteers and or staff are not unnecessarily lifting and moving boxes around. A baby change station is wheeled into the Rumpus room for non-resident parents to use which has lots of supplies, including wipes, nappies, a potty etc.
At the time of the report the centre was currently only using one bathroom due to Covid19, but on a normal session there are plenty of facilities which are clean and well maintained. Lighting is good and there is ample room for access plus grab rails. There is also a pull-down baby change table.
At the time of the report the co-ordinator had been working at Bath Child Contact Centre for seven years, is well supported by the management team and the volunteer team. The volunteers are divided into teams with a team leader taking responsibility for the session. Training is excellent and the induction process is of a high standard. The co-ordinator and the team of volunteers appear to run a well organised and child-centred contact centre. The management team has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, working with and supporting NACCC and the contact centre for the last 30 years. The centre does a lot to support families that access the centre and appear to go above and beyond. Covid-19 has impacted the centre and the team are all looking forward to a time when their wonderfully big and well-resourced centre can be used like it used to be.
This service meets the requirement for supported contact accreditation.