Parents enjoy coffee and cake whilst their children spend time with the family member no longer living with them. Christ Church Café is held where resident parents access the upstairs suite of rooms used solely for supported contact sessions held at Chichester Child Contact Centre on alternate Saturday mornings. Our café is run during the week and also on Saturdays morning where generous slices of a variety of homemade cakes are offered which are very popular with volunteers, parents and any member of the public who happen to visit. Café volunteers have a DBS check and undertake safeguarding training. Parents are welcome just to sit and read or chat for as long as they like, with or without indulging in refreshments and as many as members of the extended family as they wish may stay with them. Any step-siblings who wait in the café can be provided with games and activities to help while away the time.
Many non-resident parents appreciate that the resident parent is at a significant distance away from the contact hall but as volunteers we can easily find resident parents who may be needed quickly to settle very young children in the early days of contact or who may need to breastfeed doing the contact session; it is an excellent halfway house.
Tina (pictured here), actively seeks to be on café duty when the contact centre is running so she has become well-known to parents in her own right. Tinas coffee and chocolate cakes really are spectacularly good!
It is striking just how many parents who move on from needing our centre use the café as a meeting point for handovers on Saturday mornings for a very long time afterwards. Resident parents continue to value this facility and it helps children adapt to leaving the centre where they often feel safe and known by name.
Kathleen Davies, Co-ordinator,