This week Elizabeth Coe (NACCC CEO) has been very fortunate in having the opportunity to celebrate another year of success at the St Albans Child Contact Centre. St Albans is a supported centre in the South of England that has been supporting the children and families of their community for many years.
Prior to making the trip Elizabeth did a little research and found that many of the volunteers had such long service records that she was able to honour them with certificates recognising the hard work and dedication that they have devoted to the service.
The following image shows Elizabeth with Marylin who is one of the long-term volunteers from the service.
The St Albans Child Contact Centre offers supported contact – which means it is suitable for families where no significant risk to the child or those around the child has been identified. They welcome referrals made through a solicitor, CAFCASS officer, family mediator or social worker.
During her visit, Elizabeth gave a presentation, including running through some of the highlights from a recent accreditation visit. Notes read out from the inspection included:
This is a warm and friendly contact centre.
Children are meeting their non-resident parents in a warm, supportive and safe place, encouraging sound future relationships.
Volunteers were proactive, capable and keen to help
The following image shows some of the feedback that they have had from the parents they have been supporting over the years.
Whilst there Elizabeth spoke about the statistics on a national scale, explaining, there were 295 accredited centres as of 16th May 2023 providing direct contact services. 20,000 children to have used Contact Services from 2022 to 2023. The number of supported centres continues to decrease, whilst the number of enhanced increases.
Elizabeth also spoke about some of the things that are happening on the national stage including the Family Solutions Group, Language Matters Paper and the Archbishops Commission report Love Matters, which the volunteers found particularly interesting.