Benefits for families
- Raises parents’ awareness of early years education, childcare and local family services, improving their children’s outcomes
- Increases access to free early education for two, three and four year olds
- Brings families into children’s centres and other community settings
- Allows families to be involved in the development of local services
- Works to support minority groups and their engagement with services
Benefits for early years professionals
All schools, children’s centres and childcare settings know that valuing and working with parents improves outcomes for children. Parent Champions schemes can bridge the gap between you and your wider community.
- Encourages take up of your childcare services, particularly free early education for two, three and four year olds
- Engages with your local communities, particularly isolated or ‘hard to reach’ parents
- Helps you understand and better meet the needs of your service’s parents
- Encourages parents to participate in parent evenings, support meetings and the development of your services
- Boost children’s educational attainment by encouraging learning in the home
- Increases the uptake of additional services you may offer, such as after school clubs or ESOL classes
Benefits for volunteers
- Builds volunteers’ confidence and transferable skills
- Creates a pathway to training and employment
- Provides opportunities for volunteers to give back to their communities
Find out how you can volunteer here.
How it works
Based on evidence that word-of-mouth is parents’ most important source of information on childcare, Coram Family and Childcare developed the Parent Champions programme to support ‘hard to reach’ parents who miss out on vital information about how to access childcare and other early years services. Since then, Parent Champions have helped thousands of children access free early education for two, three and four year olds. The parent-led model has been applied to a range of areas including:
How we will support you
Most schemes run with six to eight volunteers, who typically spend around five hours a week meeting parents.
We will work with you every step of the way to launch your Parent Champions scheme:
The cost of setting up a new scheme varies depending on what is involved – but starts from £8,000, including all of the above. Please contact us for more details about managing the cost of setting up a new Parent Champions scheme – we may be able to help you fundraise, or put together your business case, and there may already be a scheme running in your local area.
For existing schemes, there is an annual renewal fee of just £495 (excluding VAT). This includes: a volunteer training pack, places at our regional workshops, coordinator meetings and national conference, coordinator helpline, and membership of the National Network. We can also provide extra support, such as training sessions, additional training packages and resources – do just ask for further information.
Experiences from Parent Champions members
"It’s totally different talking to someone who’s been through it, rather than just someone on the phone calling you to use a service in children’s centre. They know we are mums and parents ourselves promoting the services and the mums and dads tend to trust us."
"I volunteered to be a parent champion because I know first-hand how wonderful but equally challenging and isolating being a parent can be. The children’s centres are so inclusive and provide many services and a lot of support. I want to help to make sure that all parents and carers are aware of how to access what is available to them in their local area."
Parent Champion Coordinator
"The scheme is really taking off. At one event we attended, the Mayor was there and we took the opportunity to tell her about the scheme and she met a Parent Champion."
"It is nice to feel like I am giving something back to my community and hopefully help to make a positive impact to families in my local area. Personally it has helped me with my confidence and with my decision to return to study."
"It has helped me gain my life back and realise I am a person as well as a mum. It helped with my relationship with my daughter."