Becoming a Parent Champion allows mums and dads to play a vital role in the Southend-on-Sea community, as well as helping to beat isolation. Read Donna’s account of how taking an active role in A Better Start Southend allowed her to meet new people…

Donna’s journey with A Better Start Southend began in September 2018 when she was asked along to a Coffee Session by a friend and has now become a Parent Champion.

Before she found A Better Start Southend, Donna had been uprooted to Shoebury where she did not know anyone, and 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 A Better Start Southend courses that come out such as Being a Parent, HENRY, and Work Skills, as well as Perinatal Mental Health Training. She completed the Parent Champion Training course in October 2018 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 and 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 system works and that 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 is keen to see more work on outside spaces and parks in Shoebury and more shops around Southend.

Donna feels that her entire journey through A Better Start Southend is a highlight, she has been able to meet all different kinds of people, and 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 Southend for Donna is that are so many 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *