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 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:
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:
How the Family and Childcare Trust will support you
By joining the Parent Champions programme, you will get:
Support to set up your local Parent Champions scheme
Support to your Parent Champions coordinator
Resources for your Parent Champions coordinator, including the Parent Champions toolkit, online resources and tailor made childcare and Parent Champions resources
Training support and resources for your Parent Champions, including training sessions and handbooks
Membership to the Parent Champions National Network, which gives access to further resources, a dedicated website, newsletter, training and events
Membership to the Parent Champions National Network
When you set up a local Parent Champions scheme, your service will be given 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
"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."