Pontypridd Children’s Contact Centre is a registered charity and a company providing supported and supervised contact. It is a ‘not for profit’ business and all money goes back into the charity which supports the local community where there are high levels of unemployment due to the closure of the coal mines. The centre is a 2-minute walk from the local train station where there is a train service to Cardiff, every 20 minutes. The centre is a 7-minute walk to the town centre where there is a good bus route. The centre has access to the building all week and works with families both in the local area and from all over South Wales and across England. Pontypridd Contact Centre does not accept self-referrals for supervised contact, only accepting court ordered or Cafcass and local authority referrals. Supported contact is limited to 12 sessions.
At the time of the report the centre had recently moved into new premises. The building is described as safe, child friendly, meeting regulations and is part of a complex of other buildings. There are five contact rooms, (including a room for older children with a sofa in it to give it a lounge feel) an office and free parking is available. Toilets are well maintained, there are toilets with disabled access as well as baby changing facilities available. There are also two separate entrances, and a big garden outside. The garden area is currently not fenced off so is not used at present, but they plan to make this safe and useable in the near future.
The centre does not transport families to the centre and at the time of the report was not offering escorted contact. This is something they are looking to offer at some point with the relevant policies and procedures in place. The centre will not look to transport children in their own cars at any point and will rely on public transport for any escorted contacts. The centre offers staggered arrivals and departure times for families with separate entrances and exits used if needed. On the day of the contact session the non-resident parent can ring the centre to ensure that the other parent has arrived.
Children are invited for a pre visit to the centre, so they can familiarise themselves with the environment and the place they will be coming. During Covid lockdown, most of the pre visit information gathering was done over the phone. However, children were allowed to attend for a pre visit and look around the centre where Covid guidelines allowed. The centre provides age-appropriate toys and has rooms designed for specific ages of children. Where there are mixed ages of children within a family, toys can be moved from room to room to help children have toys they want to play with. Parents can also bring their own activities to do with their children if they would like to. There is a children’s feedback form in place which helps the centre review their provision and services for children.
The co-ordinator manages the team of contact supervisors and voluntary staff and is extremely committed to making Pontypridd Children’s Contact Centre a professional run service working for the needs for the children and parents that use the service. The team of trustees is extremely committed to helping the centre run effectively and is led well by the chair who seems extremely knowledgeable and supportive of the staff team. The service meets the requirements for enhanced (supervised) accreditation.