Congratulations to Bristol Child Contact Centre – on their 25 years of providing supported contact services to families in Bristol and beyond. The Rev Tracey Lewis (Chair of Bristol CCC) and Helen Gamsa (Co-ordinator) were interviewed on Radio Bristol recently (go to 2hrs 38 min) and explained a bit more about their service. Reverend Tracey said “We have to be aware of the fact that sometimes when adult relationships break down, the lack of trust and the history of disagreement and maybe domestic violence is still there and in the middle of this there is a child who still loves both parents. We can provide a safe and calm situation which enables this child’s relationship with both parents to continue.”

Sometimes parents travel a very long way to see their child… Helen said “Sometimes the child lives in Bristol and the other parent may live very far away and we have to co-ordinate a long train journey or a long car journey for a parent to maintain contact. That would really be very much more difficult without our centre.”

Volunteers from all walks of life wanting to make a difference

Helen went on to explain that the volunteers who run the centre come both from the local churches and from the wider community: “We have a ready supply of volunteers – wanting the opportunity to make a difference. The contact centre is an independent body – not a religious organisation. Although we still have quite a few volunteers from the church, nowadays volunteers come from all different walks of life, different places in the city. Younger volunteers often wanting to broaden their experience with their work – they may be working towards a career in family law, social work or mediation.”

Reverend Tracey added that their volunteer training is meticulous and enables them to provide a professional, calm, caring service for the families using them – this gives volunteers experience and equips them to make a difference.

Coordinators Helen Gamsa and Anna Sherman are pictured here cutting their 25th celebration cake together with former Coordinator Joan Gunn and their first Chairman, Canon John Rogan. More details on Bristol’s website

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