We meet local mums and carers once a week or fortnight to share our knowledge about the fun activities and useful services available in your area, and we can go to these together.
We developed this programme because we know from experience what a difference going to early years activities can make. They are not just great places for your babies … they’re a great place for you, too.
Your referral form is sent to the LEAP Parent Champion Team who will match you with a local parent. This might be someone who has the same age children, speaks the same language, or has been through a similar experience as you.
It usually takes us about 3-5 weeks to match you with a befriender. You will then receive your first phone call from them.
A Parent Champion Coordinator helps your befriender to support you. They are the person who reads your referral form, and they will stay in touch with your befriender, and the person who referred you, to make sure you are happy and given the best possible information and support. Occasionally, they will talk to other professionals on your behalf to arrange support.
The first thing that happens when you get a befriender is they’ll call you so you can get to know each other over the phone.
Your befriender will let you know about your local children’s centre, LEAP community sessions and any other early years services which you might want to attend.
If it feels difficult for you to visit one, your befriender will encourage and go with you, and you can start by visiting somewhere together where you feel comfortable, like your local café, park, or leisure centre.
At the start of your befriending relationship, we ask you 4 simple questions.
Then at the end, we ask for your feedback about having a befriender.
By answering these questions you are giving really important information to make sure we're supporting parents and carers in the best way possible.
A befriending relationship usually lasts between 3 – 6 months and will end when you feel comfortable and confident attending early years’ activities on your own.
Any ending will be discussed between you and your befriender. If your befriender has to leave, they will always give you one month’s notice, and if you want, we can match you with another befriender.
If you would like to end your befriending relationship, contact the professional who referred you, or, you can contact a Parent Champion Coordinator on: 0750 874 1217
Will you visit me at home?
No, we will never visit you in your home, although a Parent Champion can meet you outside your house, for example if you need support carrying your buggy downstairs.
Can you act as an interpreter for me?
Yes, you can be matched with a befriender who speaks your language and who can introduce you to other parents and your local children centre. However, a befriender cannot provide ongoing translation for you, or provide translation in services that are not related to early years.
Can we travel together in a vehicle?
No, befrienders cannot transport you or your children in their car, neither can they travel in your car with you.
Will you look after my children if I need it?
No, befrienders do not provide childcare, although often, they will have their own children with them. They cannot be on their own with your children and are not able to look after your children during the time you are together.
Can we meet in the evening, or at weekends?
No, befrienders are unable to meet up outside of school hours.
Can you provide financial support?
No, befrienders are unable to provide financial support, but if needed, can work with you to find places which can help.
Any information you give us will be treated confidentially and will not normally be passed on to anyone outside our service without your permission.
However, if we become aware of any risk to your own or anyone else’s safety, it might be necessary to break confidentiality.
If you would like to get in contact with a member of the Parent Champion Team, to ask us a question or give some positive or negative feedback about your befriender, please get in contact with:
Kira Montague, Parent Champion Coordinator: email@example.com or 07508741217