Tarka Child Contact Centre, is based in Bideford, providing supported contact since 2008 by a lovely team of volunteers and co-ordinator. The centre is located close to the centre of Bideford with good bus links and Barnstaple railway station 7.5 miles away. There is a free car park with clear signage close to and on the building. The centre has a large open plan reception area which is very welcoming, bright, and colourful. A door leading into the building is an intercom system, meaning the door can be only opened from inside by the co-ordinator who greets all families on arrival. The waiting area has comfortable seating and is situated away from the contact rooms.
There is a bright, good sized contact area, with lots of interactive activities and play equipment, encouraging lovely interaction between the children and family member. There is a large selection of toys to suit all ages, with a limited number of toys out within the centre due to Covid 19. There is a small kitchen area, away from the contact rooms, where volunteers offer families drinks, toast and snacks during their family time, however at the time of the report they were not allowed to do so due to Covid restrictions (the co-ordinator is hoping to recommence this as soon as possible). Clean and well-maintained toilets can be found directly off the rooms including one which is accessible, and some specifically designed for children. At the time of the report covid guidelines could be viewed with hand gels, wipes and evaluations forms available for families.
The centre has an outside play area which is well enclosed, with high fencing around giving privacy to the outside space. There is also an undercover area, where outdoor activities and equipment can be played in all weathers.
The centre offers staggered arrivals for all families with the visiting parent arriving 10 minutes before and is directed to the contact room. The resident parent and children go to the waiting room and volunteers take children to the visiting parent if a supported handover is required.
All families have pre-visits on separate days prior to the first session commencing where parents sign the detailed pre-visit checklist about expected behaviours. The resident parent will usually bring the child/children to the start or end of a session and are shown around the space and the centre team go through how and when they will see their other parent. Children are given the opportunity to ask questions.
The co-ordinator clearly demonstrates their passion and enthusiasm to strive to ensure the families using the facility are well catered for. They are dedicated to running the centre and manage the funding well, which is supported by the local community. Volunteers appeared to be happy and well trained in their role. The children observed coming to the centre on the day appeared happy and relaxed on entering the building.
Overall, this is a lovely centre, that is very well managed, with a dedicated team and has easily met the requirements for accreditation.