It was a fantastic occasion on 19th May as nearly hundred child contact centre workers, NACCC staff and trustees and representatives from Cafcass, The Parenting Apart Programme and more gathered on Teams to witness the winners of the #naccccovidhero awards being announced. We were so humbled to hear about the amazing commitment of child contact centre volunteers and staff during the pandemic.

This was our first ever awards ceremony which celebrated voluntary service, staff service, innovative practice and for outstanding achievement – the CEO Covid Hero Award. We were proud that The Parenting Apart Programme sponsoring the event were able to join us and share about their work with separated families. Lesley Jenkinson, NACCC’s Chair started the proceedings and then handed over to Phil Coleman and Elizabeth Coe to present the awards.

Congratulations to all our winners!

Phil Coleman presented the following awards, sharing the stories behind the nominations:

VOLUNTARY SERVICE DURING COVID-19: For volunteers (including trustees or students) that went (or wanted to go) above and beyond in order to get child contact services to families

The first winner in this category was Andrea at The Contact Zone in Bridgend. The person who nominated Andrea told us:

Andrea’s work in the last 12 months especially during Covid, with her unselfish, drive and determination with debriefs on how to improve and aid contact, communication to both us parents has personally helped myself develop a better relationship with my son. This lady and her team have saved my heart and memories for love I have for my son.

The second winner was Camberley & District Family Contact Centre! The person who nominated Camberley told us:

Camberley’s volunteer co-ordinator found themselves having to close their child contact centre in March 2020. However, they never stopped contacting the families using the centre, regularly checking in on them and making sure that they were ok. This contribution was invaluable in circumstances which have never existed before.

STAFF SERVICE DURING COVID-19: For staff who went (or wanted to go) above and beyond, to get child contact services to families

The first winner in this category was Emma at Parenting Apart Centre East in Norwich. The person who nominated Emma told us:

Emma responded promptly to families requiring support and supervision to maintain a safe relationship between a parent and non-resident parent during lockdown…. This very special person is always on hand to listen to my issues and provide advice and support.

The second winner was Paula at Buzz Sheffield Congratulations to you! Paula received several nominations from parents and this is why:

When a child was too anxious to come to the centre, she made arrangements for it to happen in a school. When a child wanted their bunny at contact, she found a safe way to make that happen, which included sourcing a rabbit run so that they wouldn’t have a furry friend making breaks for freedom… Nothing is ever too much, ever…..

INNOVATIVE PRACTICE DURING COVID-19: For innovating during Covid-19 in order to minimise disruption for children and families

The first winner in this category was Christian at ACC Contact Centre in Dudley. The person who nominated Christian told us:

Hero, Role model, Friendly, Caring, Compassionate and brilliant with children… leading the way in terms of innovation and the way that they recognise and meet the needs of children and families…They worked tirelessly to make sure that people know they were there to serve them and that this could be done safely.

The second winners were Linda and Janine at Craigavon Children’s Contact Centre. The person who nominated Linda and Janine told us:

Linda and Janine quickly realised that lockdown would mean no contact for children and their parents and that potentially this would cause irreparable damage to their emotional wellbeing. They shared their knowledge and skills with the Trust and this learning was implemented at other centres throughout Northern Ireland.

The CEO’s Award

THE COVID HERO CEO AWARD: For embodying all that NACCC and child contact centres stand for

Elizabeth Coe, NACCC’s CEO presented the CEO awards to two organisations which had particularly stood out amongst all the nominations. The first winners in this category was Jane at Family Ties Childrens Contact Services

Jane was chosen to receive this award by Elizabeth who shared at the ceremony:

This new centre has grown quickly and proudly demonstrates the upmost professionalism in all that they do. They have an increasing reputation for quality with the families and professionals using their services. In addition, when the pandemic started, NACCC commenced trying to work out how we could ensure that children were still able to have contact with their family members…

The second winner was Helen at Achieving for Children. Helen was chosen to receive this award by Elizabeth who shared at the ceremony:

It has been a challenging time and a time of great worries & anxieties for children in care, but the contact centre continued to work above and beyond, keeping safe practices and being innovative… They deserve great appreciation for all they do. Thank you.

NACCC’s very own covid hero!

Elizabeth went on to present Phil Coleman with a staff service in Covid-19 award for his huge commitment during the period, supporting child contact centres keyworkers through the time, updating guidance and delivering training sessions on virtual contact and reopening processes. From the NACCC team a very well done!

We are so very grateful to The Parenting Apart Programme for sponsoring the awards and giving a presentation about their work. To access the presentation and to watch the celebration on catch-up check out this link

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