Emmanuel Child Contact Centre is in the Mannamead suburb of Plymouth in the county of Devon. The centre is close to Mannamead Road with access to local bus and rail services. There is on street parking in front of the centre building, and a car park opposite. The centre is easy to find and is run from Emmanuel church on Compton Avenue.
The centre’s main front entrance is also used as the exit for the centre. A small reception area can be found immediately inside the front door with a small range of literature available and a notice board with information on local community events and groups. Two large contact rooms are available with a smaller area that is used for larger families or babies. The centre has an enclosed Astro-turfed garden space with toys and a decked area for families to use. The premises has a large kitchen – this is not directly accessed from the contact room, however a serving hatch is open and a volunteer is present giving out drinks as and when needed, (families are not allowed to access the kitchen area). The centre has male and female toilets, baby changing facilities and disabled access – these are clean and well maintained. The centre has a toy store but at the time of the report since lockdown they have encouraged families to bring their own toys.
Emmanuel Child Contact Centre accepts self-referrals but mainly receives referrals from solicitors, Cafcass, court, health workers, schools, and mediation. The centre offers staggered arrivals and departures for all families. All families have pre-visits on separate days prior to the first session commencing. A pre-visit checklist is completed which includes information about expected behaviours and parents sign this. The resident parent will usually bring the child/children to the start or end of a session to be shown around the space with the team explaining how and when they will see their other parent. Children are given the opportunity to ask questions.
The co-ordinator has been in post for 9/10 years. Their role is to provide a safe place for children to come and see family members. They manage the referrals that come into, so a big part of the role is communicating and liaising with families and professionals, which allows for a detailed risk assessment to be put in place. They plan the pre-visits and ensure the centre is staffed sufficiently, working with a volunteer who leads the volunteer training and another volunteer who helps in their absence. The volunteer team work on a rota basis and wear a badge for identification for families / children. The centre is also looking at recruiting volunteers from the local university.
The child contact centre is a well-run centre with an experienced coordinator who clearly cares for the children and families that use the facility on offer. The centre is run and managed in a child focused way. During their visit, the assessor observed the co-ordinator and their deputy interacting with the families within the centre, greeting the visiting parent and children alike in a warm and friendly manner. Unfortunately, due to Covid guidelines not many toys were on offer as families were bringing their own, but they do have some toys available. Any recommended actions following the visit are now complete meaning the service meets the standards for supported contact re-accreditation.