In my previous life I worked within children’s social care within Early Help managing staff overseeing a vast number of clients. Working within Early Help can be challenging, and some say harder than social work (I agree 100%!) You build a relationship with the children and their families ensuring you are working with your service users and team for best outcomes. It has always been a passion of mine to enable opportunities to support children and their families and for them to have a relationship with their parents/carers even if they live apart. It is so important.
Having worked in social care it is very well evidenced that there is a real need for child contact centres and a shortage of them around the UK. All I can tell you is that a case several years ago has stuck with me, a mum walked for 3 hours to see her children over 15 miles each way! I kept thinking – “Why? What is going on?”.
So that was it, I researched what I would need and started my journey of finding a home for my centre. I secured one, spent a fortune then lost it, so I started again and I found my new home for my centre. I got a personal bank loan and then worried “what if it doesn’t work? I have a mortgage, bills” and it goes on… To be honest it’s taken me several years to finally get the right centre, get it ready to open and then just before we were due to open Covid-19 strikes. Wow! here I go again. I cannot lie, it’s been hard. There have been tears and moments when I thought “no more challenges, I’m done, let me get a job”… but I kept going.
I am already seeing the benefits the centre is giving to so many. We have been open for 2 months now and if you can – do it! My entire career has been to help others and I can honestly say this is the most rewarding job I have ever had. Seeing parents reunited with their children for whatever reason is heart-warming.
I thank NACCC for all their guidance and support. The day Ionie (my assessor) came to complete my accreditation I cried as it had been a very long road and a road I never thought I would get down, but I am there. I am eternally grateful for all the help NACCC has given me to open the C4F phone and the ridiculous phone calls I have made, to the updating of contact details. The WhatsApp group has been a blessing and all the other centres support you. I am highly motivated and committed to giving families the support and guidance that is needed to create better outcomes for them all. Making a difference is what it’s all about!
Sam, co-ordinator, C4C CIC