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Participation & Empowerment Through The Arts
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The Client
Barnardos’ Young Families Plus provide support services to young parents and their families across the Wakefield District

The Challenge
The end of its Sure Start Plus funding in March 2006 meant that Young Families Plus no longer had the capacity to deliver a broad range of services to young parents across the district. Limited funding meant a narrower and more focussed remit; they would now have to concentrate their resources on the most vulnerable young parents.

From April 2006 Children’s Centres were required to deliver services to young parents that were responsive to their specific needs. Building on the lessons learned from the national Sure Start Plus Pilot programmes and their own evaluation, Young Families wanted to pass on their expertise to the new Children’s Centres in Wakefield who would take over the bulk of their responsibility for providing services for young parents.

Based on the evaluation we conducted with Young Families and our experience of working with young parents, HQ Arts were asked to design and deliver training on “How to deliver Teenage Parent Friendly Integrated Services”, for each of the 13 Children’s Centres across Wakefield.

The approach
Young Families, in partnership with HQ Arts, used their experience in working with teenage parents, to develop a training package that shared the lessons learned by Young Families and HQ Arts in their work with young parents and that used the evidence gained from the Sure Start Plus pilots, to redress the past difficulties Sure Start are reported to have had in engaging teenage parents. This involved each of the Children’s Centres bringing together a range of professionals who worked in their area for a one –day practical training session with HQ Arts.

The groups made up of between 12-20 professionals included: midwives, health visitors, family support workers, early years practitioners, teachers, youth workers, education welfare officers, Connexions staff and Children’s Centre staff.

The training was practically based, using a range of creative methods to demonstrate successful approaches to the work. The training looked at issues including access, participation, programming, planning and evaluation.

The Outcomes
The training events have provided Children Centre staff and the other professionals who work with young parents locally with good networking opportunities as well as giving them a toolkit to use in their work with young parents.

Professionals have been given the opportunity to share practice

Asked what they liked, participants said:

"The best training course I have been on."

"Fabulous interaction."

"The pacey delivery (never felt like sleeping and
I usually do)."

"The day was relaxed and fun, interactive and
helped me further understand this area."

"Excellent for promoting multi agency working."

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