Kingston Child Contact Centre has been operating as supported centre since 2012 and during 2020/21 has been working towards becoming an enhanced accredited service. The service endeavours to work with the parent/s so that they can also leave contact feeling they have been given the resources to enhance the quality time they spend with their child/ren. They are based in the heart of Kingston town centre operating from Kingston United Reformed Church in the pedestrian area. The train station is a 15-minute walk away and the bus terminus is 5-minutes’ walk. There is a carpark next to the centre. The centre has an excellent website where all the necessary information and referral forms can be downloaded along with the centre’s policies. The centre can facilitate both private and local authority referrals.
The supported service is run from large hall on the ground floor and the supervised service operates at the same time using the first floor which has three good size rooms suitable for supervised contact sessions. Access to the rooms can be via stairs or the lift. There is a kitchen for use if required along with separate toilets. The centre is in an excellent decorative order with secure entrances and exits. Rules and regulations of the centre are stated clearly on entry to the building and at the time of the report although face coverings are not mandatory they are advised. There are hand sanitisers in the corridors and all rooms with a good range of equipment available for families to use but under the current climate (Covid 19) families choose to bring their own toys. Toys are available for use and are cleaned after the clients have let their contact session.
The centre is in the process of working towards its charity status. Their main funding comes through contact service charges supplemented by a grant and donations. The majority of the volunteers have the relevant qualifications and experience to supervise the new service of supervised contact sessions. The manager ensures that families are allocated with two named volunteer contact supervisors for consistency.
The co-ordinator and the team are highly motivated, enthusiastic, committed, and always willing to learn. Their personal strengths include determination; attention to detail and a desire to make a real contribution to families who attend the centre. It is clear from discussions that clear communication is of the upmost importance and group and individual supervisions are imperative to ensure the smooth running of the centre. The centre provides an excellent quality service for their users and volunteer contact workers.