South Cheshire CLASP is a service which assists lone parents by advocating, promoting and supporting in their local community. Interface was asked to run a two day training programme, the first day focusing on ‘Engaging hard to Engage Families’ and the second on ‘Mental Health and Working with Families. The work at CLASP is undoubtedly integral to the local community, with previous service users working as volunteers at the project, which highlights the interwoven positive experience staff have on service users.
12 volunteers employed as counsellors, support workers, nursery workers and advocates attended both sessions, which outlined the importance of engagement, using a non-judgemental approach and giving the parents and families they work with the best understanding of their needs. The training enhanced the work completed at CLASP by allowing the staff to question their current practice, analyse best practice when understanding vulnerability with lone parents and their children. The training also gave the staff a knowledge base for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and mental health issues, understanding what to look out for and how best to support someone, recognising signs earlier and intervening appropriately. Staff were taught using a range of methods including groupwork, individual analysis, mindfulness techniques and short video clips.
Feedback from the group included:
‘It helped me reflect on the needs of the families I hope to support’
‘It helped me to think about how the client may view me'
‘It helped me understand the impact of poor mental health on parenting’
‘I have a better understanding of mental health issues and how it impacts on parents’