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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 local authorities

Parent Champions schemes can be delivered by your Family Information Service or Early Years team directly, or through a delivery partner, such as a children’s centre or community organisation.

  • Enhances the quality and capacity of your outreach work
  • Helps you engage with isolated or ‘hard to reach’ parents
  • Increases the uptake of vital family services in your community, particularly free early education for two, three and four year olds

Parent Champions have helped local authorities meet their legislative duties and ability to manage welfare reform, including:

  • Improve the wellbeing of young children in your area and reduce inequalities between young children by focusing on children most at risk of poor outcomes
  • Secure sufficient children’s centres provision to meet local need
  • Include parental representation on children’s centre advisory boards
  • Consult with parents about changes to or proposed closures of children’s centres
  • Secure sufficient childcare for working parents
  • Secure sufficient childcare for children with special education needs and disabilities
  • Provide information, advice and assistance to parents
  • Inform eligible parents of free childcare places for two and three and four year olds

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 was parents’ most important source of information on childcare, Family and Childcare Trust developed the Parent Champions programme in 2007 to help ‘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 hundreds 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:

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Obesity

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Dental health

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Recruitment to Disabled Children's registers

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Involving parents in co-producing local services

Most schemes run for a minimum of six months, 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:

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Initial chat to get to know you, your needs and how the programme could work for you

Meet with you, your colleagues and relevant stakeholders to discuss your goals and to nominate a Parent Champions Coordinator

Equip your Parent Champions Coordinator with the tools they need for recruitment, management and monitoring and evaluation

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Deliver a full day training session, or two half day training sessions, to develop your volunteers into Parent Champions

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Launch your scheme with access to our on-going support, resources and plenty of perks as a member of the Parent Champions National Network

Free membership to the Parent Champions National Network

When you set up a local Parent Champions scheme, your service will automatically be given free membership to the Parent Champions National Network. As a member, you will get access to support, resources, newsletters, training, events and small grants.

Being a member of the National Network, you can also benefit from shared learning and networking with other members at our annual Parent Champions conference and awards. You will also have the opportunity to bring the voice of your local families into the policy-making process through our links to national government and the media.

Experiences from Parent Champions members

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49 Parent Champions schemes across the country

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400 Parent Champions volunteering

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15000 families reached

Let’s talk about starting your scheme

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For any queries, get in touch with Gayle Baker, Programmes Administrator, at gayle@familyandchildcaretrust.org or 020 7940 7512.