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sure start volunteering-any experiences?

(7 Posts)
preciouslillywhite Mon 06-Jul-09 12:46:00

I live in inner london and have been volunteering at the nursery attached to my children's school- well, it's not really that selfless, I'm actually doing a placement for a CACHE course.

I'm really interested in ultimately working with parents, tho, so am very interested in the work that Sure Start do- can anyone share their exp of volunteering in a ss setting?


GeneHunt Mon 06-Jul-09 13:02:53

I worked with a lunch club for a while for young parents and their children. The aim of the club was to provide the skills necessary to enable the parents to cook cheap, nutritious food for themselves and their children.

It was a fairly thankless task. The only good bit was taking the children out to play. The parents were only there to meet the conditions of their children's social services care plans. I found it my most difficult placement and left me feeling very sad for the children who arrived stinking of piss and absolutely starving whilst their parents had new uggs and mobile phones to play with. This was the coal-face of Sure Start work, I'm sure they run other, less harrowing grouos too, just be prepared.

If you have long hair make sure you tie it back.[/itch]

preciouslillywhite Mon 06-Jul-09 14:51:51

Oh, love!!

About 5 years ago that's the sort of thing I would have had the stomach I'm maybe not quite so robust!

Tbh the placement I'm in now is in quite an affluent area and most of the kids are pretty privileged...most of the time it feels a bit like glorified babysitting while the mums go for coffee and I fancied doing something a bit more...well, worthy blush

UniS Mon 06-Jul-09 20:16:34

I am currently volunteering within a sure start children's centre. I facilitate a group for mums with tinies that is a breast feeding support group but not exclusively for BF mums. Its calm spot along side the bustle of baby clinic and a stay n play session for toddlers.
I've had to be CRB checked,have done a 20 hr training in BF peer supporting and 26hrs on Volunteering in the children centre which covered theory about play, language development and Attachment& separation. Also safeguarding, equality & diversity, pead 1st aid, active listening. I have a line manager and regular supervisions with her. I have a volunteers contract with the charity that manage the centre.
Quite a commitment to training. I enjoyed the training and found it interesting.

NOT all sure start centre will have the same level of commitment to training their volunteers. IF any of your local centre has a "volunteer co-ordinator" its sign that they take volunteers seriously and expect volunteers to take the role seriously.

preciouslillywhite Tue 07-Jul-09 18:28:29

Thanks UniS- that looks great. I've already got the CRB and done a year's work/work exp on play, development, inclusion, special needs etc with 3-4 year olds so that should be useful.

Littlepurpleprincess Fri 24-Jul-09 19:15:07

I volunteered for Sure Start for about 2 years and found it very rewarding. Like you say there are awful parents, but there are also wonderful ones. I helped run a Young Parent's Group (I am a young parent myself), I helped out at the big Stay & Play and did smaller groups like an under ones group and a story club. I am very glad I did it.

It really helped me understand about the different backgrounds children can come from and the ways they live. We had kids who were very poor but very loved, kids who were from very well off families and also very much loved, and the opposite, kids who had a pretty shit time of it, and I'm proud I did something to help those kids out. Sometimes the parent's don't listen, and it doesn't work but sometimes the parent's genuinlly DON'T HAVE A CLUE and are grateful for your advice.

danthe4th Thu 30-Jul-09 23:51:48

Have you got a home start scheme near you, they are often linked to the children centres.May be a good place to start.

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