The A Better Start Southend project link up with ABSS Parent Champions has strengthened with the recent appointment of two new Lead Parent Champions for our HENRY and Work Skills projects respectively. Kayleigh Wilkins has been appointed the Lead Parent Champion for HENRY, while fellow Parent Champion Esme Carter has been appointed in the same role for our Work Skills project.

The Lead Parent Champion volunteer role, which has been developed with our Partners SAVS, will help amplify the parent voice and play a key role in promoting the project. By raising the profile of activities to parents with children under 4 years old living in ABSS areas, the HENRY role will involve promoting their Healthy Families Programmes to help children get a healthy start in life for a brighter future, while the Work Skills role will do likewise to help parents develop a pathway back to work, education or volunteering (all leading back to work).

The Lead Parent Champions, who have both been trained and demonstrated knowledge in the project that they are promoting, will be sharing their passion for the projects to help publicise them, supporting promotional stands, being part of the governance process for the project, distributing leaflets, as well as other activities to encourage families to take part in the project.

New Lead Parent Champion Esme says: “I became a Lead Parent Champion for Work Skills to focus on an area that I’m passionate about and help give back to a service and people that have helped me. I’m looking forward to getting out into the community and trying to engage and involve parents to come along to workshops and services that they might not be aware about. Speaking parent-to-parent should also help as it may feel less pressurised for some parents than speaking to professionals.”

Fellow Lead Parent Champion Kayleigh adds: “Being a Lead Parent Champion for HENRY means I can use all the information I have gained from doing the course myself and encourage others to experience it too! It’s a great opportunity to connect with other parents and try to make a very effective difference to their lives.”

Patrizia Pessenda-Garcia, from HENRY says: “We are absolutely delighted to have Kayleigh, a fantastic ABSS Parent Champion, representing HENRY in Southend. This is a great opportunity to expand the HENRY Healthy Families Programme in the local community. By sharing personal experiences about the benefits of the HENRY programme we hope to reach more families who will attend and benefit too.”.

Amir Girnary from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Work Skills project says: “Esme is an inspirational parent. She is an ideal role model to work with parents, and to be an advocate for ABSS Work Skills. We are very excited to have the opportunity to work with her going forward as we work together to make the ABSS Work Skills project bigger and better – and are very grateful for the time she has devoted so far.”.

For more information about the ABSS Parent Champions, please contact

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