Horsham Child Contact Centre is a very well-resourced centre run from the premises at the Kingdom Faith Church, providing supervised and supported contact. It achieved NACCC’s enhanced accreditation for supervised contact in 2018, previously offering only supported contact. The organisation’s committee is very supportive of the extension of service to manage supervised contact sessions and since achieving enhanced accreditation the service has been busy with referrals, and volunteers in the supported service have come on board assisting with supervising the contact sessions along with new staff being recruited. Parking is available on site and bus stops are a 5-minute walk away from the centre. Horsham train station is a 10-minute walk away and serves all stations into London and the South coast.
The centre is child friendly with an excellent selection of equipment available for families to use. All contact rooms are in an excellent decorative order and maintained to a very high standard. At the time of the report the main contact hall was being used for supported contact. Families having supervised contact sessions will be able to use these facilities as well as contact being held in their allocated contact room, either on the ground or first floor. The rooms used for supervised sessions are bright with plenty of natural light. The centre also has a soft play area which at the time of the report was being risked assessed by the Kingdom Faith Church health and safety officer to see if it is possible to reopen the area regarding covid restrictions and if so how it will be used, managed and cleaned to ensure cleanliness standards are of the highest. Prior to covid the area was manned by a volunteer who is always stationed by this facility to be on hand if there are any health and safety issues. There is a cafe area where affordable refreshments can be purchased (which at the time of the report was not in operation due to covid restrictions). All toilets (including a disabled toilet) were clearly signed and of a high standard of cleanliness.
The contact service is overseen by the Service Manager, who has responsibility for the day-to-day management of the centre. The service is supported by the administrators who work for the Kingdom of Faith Church with managing booking of contact rooms, an administrator for the contact service, three team leaders and sessional staff along with volunteers who work in the supported service along with assisting with taking children to the supervised contact sessions. The Service Manager works closely with the administrator to ensure that workers are allocated to families with two named workers for consistency. They ensure all contact supervisors are clear about what needs to be observed during the contact sessions and potential risks.
The centre arranges separate pre-visit contact planning meetings with parents where the ground rules are explained, and a review date is also set. Contact planning meetings have been via zoom due to the pandemic but as restrictions have lifted slightly, families will attend pre visits in the centre when in operation or the Kingdom of Faith church is open with other workers available to assist if need be. The families are shown around the premises so they have an idea of what facilities are available. The centre has an easy to use and informative website which states the location of the centre, opening hours, map, local transport information, charges etc. The website includes referral forms for supervised or supported contact sessions along with ground rules and guidelines. The centre will provide, if required an interpreter for families but the charge will be met either by the client or referrer. The centre has easy disability access to the services provided at the centre.
The centre uses separate entrances for families and staggered arrivals and departures are in place. The Service Manager informed the assessor that on occasions they used to use her vehicle for escorting children but since covid this service is no longer available. For community contact sessions, families agree to meet at two venues near the centre at staggered arrival times and the contact supervisor will arrive independently and escort the children to their visiting parent. At the end of the session, the children will be escorted to their resident parent. At the respective chosen venues there are separate meeting points for the clients to reduce any hostility between the parents/clients. Children will either be brought to the centre by the resident parent or if the centre is facilitating a contact session for the local borough, children are brought to the centre by their foster carer or use the allocated taxi firm registered with the local social services borough.
Any recommended actions following the visit are now complete meaning the service meets the standards for enhanced (supervised) accreditation.