Parents and Communities Together (PACT)
Parents and Communities Together (PACT)
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Parents and Communities Together (PACT) is a community-led project which aims to support and empower parents.
The project started in Southwark in London, and has now extended to North Tyneside and Leeds. It aims to improve the health and development outcomes for young children.
We run a variety of weekly workshops that provide a fun space for kids to play and a safe environment for parents to build a network of support and share their experiences. Have a look to see what’s on offer at PACT.
By providing a reliable human connection, we help to engage a number of hard-to-reach communities who don’t normally access health and social services. PACT has proven that by using Community Organising methods we are able to have a significant impact.
What we deliver
- We harness the power of parents, volunteers, educational and faith organisations, maternity services and children’s centres to develop workshops and activities that respond to our community’s needs. This includes: workshops that cover anything from sleep and toilet training to stress and wellbeing; as well as our weekly Family Food Club and Parent University course (an antenatal and postnatal course for mothers and partners).
- These workshops are both in-person and online, providing support for parents and their pre-school children. We focus on health and wellbeing, particularly maternal mental health.
- We also work with health professionals such as midwives and health visitors to offer clinical support and signpost parents to other services.
Key leaders for this campaign
Elsie Mumah (Together We Can, Parent Commissioner, London Youth Safety, NHS fees for migrant women)
Danna Michelley Quinos (Just Transition)
Abieyuwa Ehondor (Together We Can, NHS Fees for migrant women)
Yaneysi Brito (Together We Can)
Kely Jiménez (Latin American representation)
Amy Norris (Together We Can)
Carina Faria (Southwark housing campaign and Just Transition)
Munira Nesredin (Parent Lead at PACT’s steering group)
Key facts and figures
- An evaluation of our work by King's College London found that 40% of the mothers who came to our MumSpace group were at the threshold of getting some form of mental health intervention, but after six months 68% had fully recovered.
- The same evaluation also found that parents’ social support network significantly increased after six months of attending MumSpace. Parents listed an average 12% increase in the number of people they could rely on and ask for help if needed.
- An evaluation of our Family Food Club by The Social Innovation Partnership (TSIP) found that 82 parents had access to surplus food every week thanks to this programme. They also found that 73 parents registered for Alexandra Rose vouchers, giving them access to fresh fruit and vegetables from East Street and Brixton market.
- Following a listening campaign to identify key issues and vulnerabilities within the community during the COVID-19 lockdown, PACT has successfully responded to two of the three key barriers to engagement with services: computer confidence and literacy; and access to internet and devices. Between March and October 2020, we have supported 65 families to get online with one to one and group digital support, and provided Wi-Fi and/or devices for 46 families.
- King’s College London recently reviewed our booking sharing course, where families could develop the skills and confidence to share books and stories with their children. They found that many parents agreed that their knowledge of their child improved), their relationship with their child improved, and their child was able to participate in other educational activities.
I've always been glad to be a Dad, and fairly confident, but DadSpace has not only increased my personal confidence, but made me realise that Dads can offer a lot of help and support to each other, and that sharing our experiences (joys, pain, excitement) is both important and fulfilling. Sebastian Crankshaw, a parent attends DadSpace in Southwark.
The feelings of isolation I felt a few months ago have been replaced by a sense of belonging. I have met so many lovely ladies who are on the same journey as me and whom I can open up to. PACT has created an environment where I can balance motherhood and self-growth and I am grateful for that. Hailu, a parent leader at the Southwark Family Food Club and MumSpace groups.
When I’m here, I feel free. Since joining PACT, Elsie Mumah has become a key community Leader, working with Citizens UK on a number of campaigns, such as Together We Can, Youth Safety and ending NHS fees.
Being part of PACT has brought me a new family and a sense of belonging in my community which I wouldn’t otherwise have felt. It has also shown me what I really want to do with my life and created a new passion in me for wanting to help people. Carina is a regular parent and volunteer at MumSpace and has volunteered at our Piggy Bank, where she helped to raise money for the community by selling donated clothes.
A brief history of the campaign
In 2015, Southwark Citizens invited local parents to meet and talk about the issues affecting them and how they could be better supported. The parents wanted a community; a space to gather, play and access parenting resources and education. In response, MumSpace was launched.
During these initial months, a Spanish-speaking mother called Grace Romero asked Southwark Citizens for help as she was pregnant and hadn’t received a check-up due to the language barrier.
After connecting Grace with a Spanish speaking midwife, Southwark Citizens asked Grace if there were other women that she knew who were dealing with a similar issue. Grace said “yes, many” and together they launched our Espacio Mama group.
Over the years the MumSpace project has expanded and PACT now run nine groups: two MumSpace groups, 2 Espacio Mama groups, the Family Food Club, Parent University, Book Sharing, Babies@MumSpace and DadSpace. Our MumSpace, Espacio Mama and Babies@MumSpace groups are all run by previous PACT parents and volunteers.
In 2018, PACT expanded into Leeds and North Tyneside. With the hope that PACT activities could be replicated, the locations were chosen based on the strength of alliances in those areas and levels of need.
How you can get involved
We are looking for volunteers who can support parents and young children attending our weekly groups. If you are fun, reliable and enjoy working with children, we would love to hear from you. There is no need to be an expert - just enthusiastic and willing to invest time to build relationships that make a world of difference!