Melton Mowbray Child Contact Centre is run from Sage Cross Methodist Church, close to the town centre with parking and public transport close by. The church permits the centre to use their facilities however is not involved in the running of the centre.
The centre has one entrance and exit with a reception area at the entrance along with a waiting room available. The centre uses one large room upstairs for contact and is well equipped with games, toys and craft activities. A lift is available to enable easy access. The area is very clean and is laid out with chairs, mats and tables so that each family has their own space and toys to play with. An adjoining kitchen with a hatch is used to serve drinks and snacks but at the time of the report was not in use due to Covid. Toilets are available by the contact room and downstairs (one with disabled access and baby changing facilities).
Referrers are informed that preparation for contact visits will need to happen prior to contact commencing, and an appointment is arranged at that point. The pre visit checklist is completed, the rules of the centre are covered, and parents are given leaflets welcoming them to the centre and an opportunity to discuss any concerns. The date for first contact is agreed and the subsequent pattern of visits. The children are given an information leaflet (if they are old enough), and the opportunity to look round the centre, meet the volunteers on duty and play with the toys. They are encouraged to ask any questions and asked if they have any worries. Links are provided to the NACCC videos about contact centres.
During Covid the centre opened in a limited way only having one family at a time and families were encouraged to bring their own toys. At the time of the report the centre was still being cautious and restricting the number of families in the centre at any one time. Families were using different areas and only give one hour of contact to enable more families to have time together.
The centre is well organised and managed by the co-ordinator who receives support from the team leaders and the chair of the committee. The co-ordinator has been in post since April 2018; they are clearly committed to the running of the centre and were creative in trying to offer contact during Covid. They are very clear on risk assessment and what the centre can offer to families and will signpost referrals to more appropriate centres if they are not suitable for the centre. Due to Covid the centre had lost a few volunteers however a recent recruitment drive meant they potentially had eight new volunteers. The centre has six team leaders who take responsibility for training and mentoring new volunteers.
The centre is working to NACCC’s standards for supported contact and is offering a safe service to families.