Elizabeth Coe, NACCC CEO heads up the staff team at NACCC
Welcome to our newsletter – we are trying to keep you as up to date as possible. Do let us know what you think and please do share as widely as you can, to your staff and volunteers, management committee and supporters. We want to spread the message far and wide…
The Rights Idea? NACCC makes a valuable contribution to the education of children & young people
Over the past 6 months or so Elizabeth Coe from NACCC has been working with NYAS and the University of Exeter to develop a range of educational resources that can be used by schools across the country as part of their National Curriculum teaching. The resources developed, allow children a greater understanding of issues relating to parental separation and what rights children have, when experiencing this.
The Children Act 1989 and the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child provide a framework for decision-making which respects the rights of children to be consulted (should they wish to be) when decisions are made about their lives following parental separation. These are fundamental rights yet few children in England or Wales are consulted. Many young people are unaware of their rights and are reliant on their parents or the professionals involved when their parents separate for information. Exeter University’s research has shown that there is a strong appetite amongst young people for trustworthy, accessible information on their rights and the support available to them when parents separate.
In collaboration with NYAS and NACCC, they have produced an infographic and accompanying video (4 minutes, 45 seconds). It follows the separation journeys of two families, narrated by Tom, the fourteen-year-old son from one of the families, to explore young people’s rights to information, consultation and (where needed) representation when their parents separate. The narrative follows the families over a 12-month period to normalise how young people may feel at this difficult time of transition. It recounts Tom’s experience of meeting with the mediator who helped his parents to negotiate matters following separation. It also details the experience of his neighbours; Chloe, Jack and Rosie whose parents settled in court, following use of a contact centre as a stepping-stone for contact between the youngest child, Rosie and her dad. In addition, Exeter University have produced a shorter video (3 minutes, 24 seconds), ‘Tom’s story’, outlining Tom’s experience of meeting the mediator.
We hope that the video and infographic will be used by organisations tasked with supporting young people whose parents separate as well as in PSHE lessons in schools as part of the rebranded Relationships and Sex Education curriculum.
“Why does any of this matter?”
Phil Coleman writes on our website “In order to develop this project, further NACCC is now working on resource packs for children that will help them to better understand their world, as it changes. These packs focus on the difficult emotions that they might experience and seek to help them to manage these….”
He goes on to quote Nuffield Foundation’s recent 2017 report which states “The absolute number – and proportion – of families and children who experience separation in the UK is substantial. One in six children are born into a family in which their birth parents do not live together and one in three children experience the separation of their parents during their childhood. Around two percent of families with dependent children separate each year resulting in 2.5 million separated families raising over four million children at any point in time. Three million children are living in single-parent households (25 percent of children), and a further one million with step-parents (eight percent of children).”
Supported contact centre funding
Dear Colleagues, it has been a difficult year for everyone, and I am sure you would feel that is an understatement. The Cafcass grants for supported contact were awarded and everyone was given extra time to apply. Unfortunately, because of lockdown some centres did not keep an eye on the mail coming through and apply in time. NACCC was asked to intervene. I tried very hard with Cafcass to see if they could be flexible about this and give these centres the grant they had applied for but this was not possible, as by the time we at NACCC were informed, all of the money had been allocated. This brings me to something I have said many times. Centres do need to apply for funding from other sources rather than relying on the Cafcass grant. There are many sources of funding often small amounts but enough to supplement the Cafcass grant if it continues to be awarded. Almost on a weekly basis Ruth sends out information from the NCVO on grants in local areas to the centres and some centres have successfully applied for these grants (Bridport Child Contact Centre’s successful Lottery application and Tonbridge Child Contact Centre’s Co-op local fund success).
I would recommend you watch this fundraising seminar as the contents emanate from a centre that has been incredibly successful at raising funds, the Chiltern Contact Centre. I know that Bob and others at that centre have always been willing to talk to anyone about how this can be achieved. Thanks also to everyone who took part in our recent fundraising survey – you have kindly shared your fundraising success stories and top tips which is excellent (see below for download). Please also see
- Sustainability of child contact centres (first published in the Summer 2019 newsletter)
- Raising funds for child contact centres (first published in the Summer 2020 newsletter)
Elizabeth Coe, NACCC CEO
Nominate your Covid heroes!
The work of child contact centres throughout COVID-19 has been outstanding and an absolute credit to centres across the country and to NACCC. With this in mind, we would like to hear your stories about the things that have been happening. These might be examples of best practice, or they might be examples of people going above and beyond the call of duty. There is no limit to the things that we will consider when reviewing nominations. We will then review these with a view to a rewards ceremony, where we celebrate this.
The NACCC CEO will then shortlist the applications received to make the very difficult decisions about where awards are to be given.
The Nomination categories include:
1. Voluntary Service during Covid-19
Here we will be looking for those volunteers (including trustees or students) that went (or wanted to go) above and beyond in order to get child contact services to families.
2. Staff Service during Covid-19
Here we will be looking for paid staff (including managers and others) that went (or wanted to go) above and beyond, to get child contact services to families.
3. Innovative Practice
This will consist of two awards in the Enhanced Member category and Supported Member Category. These awards will be granted to centres for innovating during Covid-19 in order to minimise disruption for children and families.
4. Covid Hero
You will not be able to nominate people for this. The NACCC CEO will choose who to allocate this too, during the process of reviewing all the applications received. This reward will be allocated to one person or centre that embodies all that NACCC and child contact centres stand for. This recipient will have done something amazing that deserves recognition.
Deadline for nominations: Sunday 28 February 2021
Please use this online form to nominate, individual staff, volunteers, or contact centres more widely.
NACCC supports the #SortItOut and #TechForGood campaigns
Please do checkout these two very important campaigns on our website and social media.
The #SortItOut campaign launched by Tavistock Relationships, Relate, Marriage Care, National Family Mediation and many others is calling for immediate action to reduce the damaging impact of parental conflict on an estimated 1.25million children in Britain. This campaign is particularly necessary given the increase in family stress and break-up due to lockdown and the pandemic. Research overwhelmingly demonstrates that exposure to frequent, intense and poorly resolved conflict between parents has a long-lasting and negative effect on children’s mental health and development.
The #TechForGood campaign launched by SocialBox.Biz is tackling #digitalexlusion. As we are all too aware, the pandemic has underlined how important technology is to stay connected. Children affected by divorce needing virtual contact services are no exception. Unfortunately not all families have the tech resources to enable this vital communication to happen. SocialBox.Biz as a part of its social impact digital inclusion initiative collects disused but still working laptop computers in order to support disadvantaged groups with computers. They work with charities in the areas of homelessness, ex offenders, young refugees, young people in the care system and the elderly.
Checkout the #TechForGood hashtag and go to SocialBox.Biz for more info https://www.socialbox.biz/digital-inclusion/
Training update January 2021
Phil Coleman, Service Development Manager oversees accreditation and training at NACCC
Training has been something that NACCC has given lots of energy to in light of Covid and what this has meant for us. Like all of you we have had to be creative in how we provide this and how we reach people during times when participants cannot come together.
Consequently, we have now significantly expanded our repertoire of online content and our AGM seminars were a good example of this.
Online training opportunity
A recent initiative has been to form a partnership with The Training Hub Group. They provide a range of online training courses many of which are free. Courses are on a range of subjects relevant to people working with children and families in settings such a child contact centres as well as specialist courses for people working in foster care and children’s homes. Courses in their ‘adult well-being’ section include:
- Children and domestic abuse advanced level
- Drugs and alcohol awareness
- First aid refresher
- Gangs and county lines
- Mental health at work
- Personality disorders
- Positive identity and self esteem
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Reflective practice
- Sexual health
- Supporting adults at risk of domestic abuse and violence – female victim intimate partner abuse
- Supporting adults at risk of domestic abuse and violence – inter family
- Supporting adults at risk of domestic abuse and violence – LGBTQ
- Supporting adults at risk of domestic abuse and violence – male victim
- The importance of time out
- Understanding depression and suicide (range of courses)
If you would like me to enrol your volunteers/staff, please do send me a completed application form. Your staff and volunteers will get a PDF certificate for each course completed. Once set up we will select the courses that might be of interest and allocate accordingly. They will get an email notification each time a course is allocated. They can obviously ignore an allocation if they don’t want to do it. Once a course is allocated to them, your staff and volunteers have 90 days to complete before it expires. Watch this space – further details to come. https://thetraininghub.co.uk/
The Parenting Apart Programme event
An online event is being held (on 10th February 2021, 2-4pm) to make supervised centres aware of the work of Parenting Apart. This will be of particular relevance to those interested in the Cafcass CCI recommission. The team from Parenting Apart plan to share some information about their service and how this might be of assistance to child contact centres and the parents using them
If you are interested in attending, do send me an email and I will send out an invite.
The Parenting Apart Programme was featured in our seminar series which can be viewed on our YouTube channel
Coffee Shop Live
NACCC has hosted a number of online events which have had great take up amongst child contact centre staff and volunteers. We are constantly looking for new ways to support the amazing people that we are incredibly fortunate to work with every day. We now have social media groups where centres support one and other and these have become invaluable.
Our live version of the Coffee Shop has been immensely popular giving co-ordinators the chance to talk about anything that is relevant to the operation of Child Contact Centres and the opportunity to share the experiences, memories, knowledge, and wisdom of other members. Do check your emails for the latest dates.
Phil Coleman, Service Development Manager
Centre status update latest
Thank you for sending in details regarding your centre’s status in relation to the pandemic. We have the latest figures (as at 7th December 2020) to share with you. Again, these figures reflect a huge amount of hard work that is going on behind the scenes ensuring risk assessments, equipment, new layouts and safety procedures are all in place. We are not wanting to put pressure on centres to reopen as it is of utmost importance that centres reopen safely.
- 63% of supported centres are now open, with 9% making plans to reopen. 28% were still closed for the time being. [On 1st October 46% of supported centres were open with 31% making plans to reopen]
- 96% of enhanced accredited centres are now open, with 4% still closed for the time being. [On 1st October 2020 78% were open with 20% making plans to reopen]
- The majority of supported centres (54%) thought that it would not be until later in 2021 before they could work with the number of families that they would have expected prior to lockdown.
- 89% of enhanced centres and 37% of supported centres had been able to offer virtual contact during this period
- Many centres are using tech for other activities (not including contact) post covid – and a number are considering this.
We can also share that supported and enhanced accredited centres have delivered 11,359 virtual child contact sessions to 2,214 families since the start of lockdown. This is an amazing achievement. Please see the report (in the downloads below) for further details.
Statistics update: Findings and trends for the period 1st July to 30th September 2020
To complement the above we felt it would be helpful to share the findings and trends from the second quarter’s statistics submitted by accredited child contact centres for the period 1st July to 30th September 2020.
Supervised contact services back to 63% of pre-covid case load with supported bookings still low but rising…
Supported contact: Overall the number of available supported sessions was at 61% of those available in same period last year. This is an improvement on the last quarter (24%) as services start to reopen following the pandemic.
- 699 of available supported sessions were at supported only centres (15% of what was available in same period last year)
- 14409 of available supported sessions were at centres providing both types (72% of what was available in same period last year)
Supervised contact: Overall, the number of available supervised sessions was at 72% of those available in the same period last year. This is an improvement on the last quarter (41%) again as services start to reopen following the pandemic.
- 522 of booked supported sessions were at supported only centre (17% of those booked in same period last year).
- 1490 of booked sessions were at centres providing both contact types (40% of booked sessions in same period last year)
Supported contact: Overall, the number of booked supported sessions was 29% of those available in the same period last year. This is an improvement on the last quarter (7%) as services start to reopen following the pandemic.
- 522 of booked supported sessions were at supported only centre (17% of those booked in same period last year).
- 1490 of booked sessions were at centres providing both contact types (40% of booked sessions in same period last year)
Supervised contact: Overall, the number of booked supervised sessions was 63% of those booked in the same period last year. This is an improvement on the last quarter (40%) as the number of services reopening has increased.
- 1620 of booked supervised sessions were at supervised only centres (73% of booked sessions in same period last year).
- 15704 of booked sessions were at centres providing both contact types (63% compared with booked sessions in same period last year)
Number of children using centre at 52% overall compared with last year with majority of these using supervised services
Supported contact: Overall, the number of children using supported centres was at 25% compared with the same period last year.
- 753 of these children were using supported only centres (21% compared with children using supported only centres in same period last year).
- 449 of these children were using centres providing both contact types (37% compared with children using these centres in same period last year)
Supervised contact: Overall, the number of children using supervised centres was at 74% compared with the same period last year.
- 442 of these children were using supervised only centres (105% compared with previous year.
- 3978 of these children were using centres providing both contact types (71% compared with previous year)
Supported referrals picking up and supervised referrals recovering well with additional cases coming from local authorities
Supported referrals received during quarter 2 were still low (31%) compared with the previous year but compared with the previous quarter they show an encouraging increase.
Supervised referrals for quarter 2 have picked up well compared with the last quarter and are generally between 73% and 91% compared with last year. However, supervised local authority referrals have increased at 150% perhaps due to their duty of care. This has affected some centres meaning that they are having to turn away self-referrals that they would normally have been able to accommodate.
Centres can now customise their page on our website with photos, local information and testimonials. Claire, the co-ordinator from Belper had been busy customising her page and told us how user friendly it was:
“It was incredibly easy to upload the photos and update the information for our centre on the website. It only took a few minutes to do. I love how personal it looks now and allows referrers instant access to our website and referral system as well as showing them what the centre looks like.”
Claire, Belper Child Contact Centre
If you have not yet had a look, please do, we hope you will be pleased with the improved functionality and your new look members dashboard.
Not logged on yet? It’s not too late – click on the ‘forgot password’ link at the bottom of this webpage: https://naccc.org.uk/membership-login/ Then enter either your registered email address or username on the screen that follows.
SPOTLIGHT: Accredited centres going the extra mile at Christmas
If you have been on our social media recently you will see that centres have been busy helping local families experience as ‘normal’ a Christmas as is possible in these challenging times. Avenue Centre in Westcliff on Sea has been doing fun activities at the centre and Neutral Ground Child Contact Centre and East Northants Child Contact Services have been done an epic job delivering local presents and hampers to local families. Amazing. Checkout what’s been going on:
Elizabeth and Phil contribute to an invaluable resource – 101 questions answered about separating with children
Elizabeth Coe and Phil Coleman from NACCC are immensely proud to continue supporting Bob and Rebecca at Only Mums & Only Dads. Dr Rudkin, Bob and Rebecca have been continuing their work to develop resources for professionals and the general public alike. “The 101 Questions about Separating with Children” are a really helpful range of books helping people to make sense of the situations they’re experiencing.
This 2nd edition has three major updates. Firstly, Covid-19 has brought with it some significant changes to the way family courts are operating. Secondly, they have included details of solicitors who have signed up to the Covid Green Phone Initiative, donating their time to give free initial guidance to male and female victims of domestic abuse. Finally, with thanks to the Transparency Project, they have included their comprehensive guide to remote hearings. Further details
Introducing Mel and Robert
We have two new members of the team to introduce to you. Mel is our new fundraising consultant (working with us on a short-term basis) and Robert takes up the finance reins from our recently retired colleague Alan and will be working three days a week.
Mel writes “I have 20 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector focussing on income generation for small to medium-sized charities. I specialise in grant writing; philanthropy; relationship and partnership strategy, development and management; project management of creative marketing, capital and income generating projects and events.”
“Originally from South Africa, I have also lived in Kenya and am now in the West Midlands. I have 4 children (24, 22, 21 and 16) and am really passionate about helping children and young people, the disadvantaged and marginalised get the best chance to thrive, no matter their circumstances. I have worked in the field of HIV/AIDS in South Africa and spent 12 years leading income generation at a children’s hospice in Stoke-on-Trent. Since 2019, I have been consulting for a variety of charities, local, national and international NGOs. Some of these have included Food for the Hungry UK – an INGO supporting empowerment, poverty relief and enterprise projects in developing countries; The Women of the Year Awards; Mosaic Middle East – an international NGO based in UK supporting Iraqi refugees in the Middle East; Jumbulance Trust – supporting disabled and ill children and adults and the elderly to access trips and holidays in UK and abroad; as well as local grassroots charities supporting families, poverty relief and disadvantaged young people in Stoke-on-Trent.”
“On a personal level, having children who have gone through separation, I was excited to be asked to work with NACCC. I hope that I can make a contribution to helping children and parents repair and strengthen their relationships through the wonderful work of your contact centres.”
Robert writes “I have taken over the administration of NACCC’s finances from the recently retired Alan Tarr. I have over 25 years of experience working in finance departments both for profit and not for profit organisations (which include a Housing Association and a local independent cinema). I am excited to have joined NACCC and hope to use my experience in helping us make the most efficient use of the funding available in order to achieve our mission and goals.”
“Outside of work my interest lie mainly in sports. I played cricket for a local league side for over 35 years and at various times was also their fixture secretary and statistician. The latter role was a voluntary one which I also performed for Leicester Falcons American Football team for 5 seasons. Apart from Sports I enjoy travelling and have been fortunate to visit far distant places such Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. A trivia fact is that my cousin was the first recorded Chinese person to be born in Nottingham.”
Again, we hope that this newsletter is helpful. Do share it as widely as you can.
Elizabeth Coe, NACCC Chief Executive Officer