Donna has been involved with A Better Start since September 2018; she was asked along to a Coffee Session by a friend and has now become a Parent Champion.
Before she found A Better Start, Donna had been uprooted to Shoebury where she did not know anyone, being a single parent of two with low self confidence and learning difficulties, Donna found herself not really going outside of the house to socialise, instead she relied on the family support of her Mother and neighbours.
Since then Donna has found new friends that encourage her along to new things and help support her when she needs it. She is happy to try new courses that come out such as ‘Being a Parent’, HENRY programme, Perinatal Mental Health Training and Work Skills, she has also completed the Parent Champion Training course which has allowed her to be part of service design and conferences helping her to keep busy and think about the changes she would like to see with her family and the community as well.
Donna feels that she is slowly seeing the changes in the community from A Better Start Southend but is keen to help this process along through talking to other parents and getting other organisations involved to help spread the word. Through attending different meetings with professionals Donna feels that changes are being made in the way that the system works and she feels like the parents voice is now being heard but there is still a way to go, although a lot of this comes down to funding. Donna spoke about how she would like to see more work on outside spaces and parks in Shoebury and more shops around Southend.
Donna felt that her entire journey through A Better Start is a highlight, she has been able to meet all different kinds of people, and she is thankful for the SAVS childcare volunteers as well as the crèche and really enjoys the Engagement Events as well. The only downside to A Better Start for Donna is that there are a lot meetings, so sometimes she feels a little stretched thin especially if the timings fall poorly for school drop and pick up times.
Donna summed up that she has really enjoyed being part of this project, the staff take the time to help and support parents, she has been able to step out of her comfort zone and meet professionals from all different jobs and help to steer the community to a better future.
Our ‘Parent Champion Stories’ series aims to share the experiences and stories of the wonderful Parent Champions who volunteer for the A Better Start Southend project. Without these creative, forward thinking and inspiring parents, the project would simply not exist. Turning Tides would like to thank Donna and all of the Parent Champions who we get to work with, for helping to improve the future for the children of Southend.
If you’d like to learn more about the project, how you can get involved or becoming a Parent Champion you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01702 356069.