North Somerset Child Contact Centres’ centre in Clevedon provides supported contact, is situated within the Anglican Christ Church in Clevedon, and is managed by the Mothers’ Union Diocese of Bath and Wells. The families who come to the Clevedon centre also use the centre in Nailsea, enabling contact to take place twice a month. Clevedon is an English seaside town within the parish of North Somerset and lies along the Severn Estuary. The seafront has ornamental gardens, a marine sea pool, crazy golf, amusements, and a pier. There are parks and gardens which offer attractions for visiting families with cafes and shops in the local vicinity. The nearest train station is Yatton, on the Exeter line. The church is in an accessible location, is clearly signposted and has ample parking, outside of the church and also on the road.
The contact centre in Clevedon is set in a modern and light church hall with lots of rooms which serve a good purpose as waiting rooms and private rooms if parents need to talk confidentially. The contact centre has recently moved from a smaller room to the large church hall to accommodate the rise in parents. This hall is very large and has a room off from the main room which provides for calmer play and quiet parent and child times. This is important as the main hall is large and prone to get noisy. On entry to the building there is a sign which clearly states that the building is in use for contact (it is easily accessible to all and there would be no restrictions to accessing the building). A volunteer is also placed at a table at the entrance, ready to sign parents and their children into the building and out of the building, either for contact within the centre or outside for community contact. Separate exits/entrances can be used if needed with a staggered arrival and departure system always in use.
The entrance is light and welcoming and at the time of the report was equipped with hand sanitiser and gloves for Covid safety. Waiting rooms are welcoming and spacious and used if a parent needs to speak privately or if the centre has a visit from Cafcass. The large waiting room is also used for pre-visit meetings. Bathrooms are clean and tidy – there is both a female and male toilet and another toilet within the main contact room which can be used by all. There is equipment in all bathrooms to assist children and there is a baby change table within the female bathroom. All bathrooms are maintained to a good standard and there are reminders about the importance of good hygiene.
The contact room is large and has a good selection of toys, although parents are still asked to bring in their own because of Covid safety and the co-ordinator feels that this also helps them be more engaged at the centre. Arts and craft resources are also supplied in individual family bags which has worked well. There are ample soft furnishings and places for parents and children to sit together and there are books to share in the quiet room. A volunteer is placed just outside of the doors, which are left open in this room to ensure observation (if needed) is possible. Toileting is well managed, with non-resident parents taking their own child to the bathroom with a volunteer accompanying them. The kitchen is clean, well maintained and only accessed by volunteers to make refreshments for parents and themselves.
Referrals for supported contact come via solicitors and social services but most families refer via NACCC’s Safe Referral System which the co-ordinator appreciates, as they are new to their role. The pre-visit meeting is completed for all resident and non-resident parents and each family has a risk assessment and in time, a review will take place. Children are also invited to look around the centre before coming to a contact session. At the time of the report the centre can have four to six families in at one time, with the volunteer team on hand. Supported handovers are also available at the centre and these are treated in the same way, from referral to risk assessment and review.
The co-ordinator of this centre has been in post since 2020. They have a background in childcare and in delivering the Incredible Years parenting programmes. They are clearly passionate about their role and work in partnership with the co-ordinators at the Nailsea and Frome centres which are also Mothers’ Union run organisations. The volunteer team have been volunteering for varying years and are well experienced, coming from different backgrounds.
North Somerset Child Contact Centre’s Clevedon co-ordinator is clearly very passionate about their role as co-ordinator and is keen to get it right. The assessor was able to observe them working with volunteers, ensuring that they were well prepared for the contact session and supported within their role. The building is excellent, light and spacious and caters well for the families using the centre. Health and safety standards are met. Safeguarding policies are in place and the procedure is well known. Recruitment and induction is robust and volunteers are supported in their role. The co-ordinator appears to work well with their fellow co-ordinator in Nailsea and the co-ordinator based in Frome. The assessor has also recommended that the co-ordinator would benefit from the NACCC peer support coffee shop forum and is happy that any recommended actions following the visit are now complete meaning the service meets the standards for supported contact accreditation.