You are here: Setting up a Parent Champions scheme

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 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:

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30 hours free childcare offer

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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

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:

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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

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

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50 Parent Champions schemes across the country

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250 Parent Champions volunteering

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9000 families reached

Let’s talk about starting your scheme

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For any futher enquiries, get in touch with Lizzie Hodgkins, Programmes Manager, at lizzie.hodgkins@familyandchildcaretrust.org or 020 7239 4995.