The grant from MARS enabled Oasis Family Support Centre to provide Tea and Talk sessions where parents and guardians talked through the challenges of bringing children up and develop essential parenting skills. The sessions provided a space for families’ voices to be heard, signposting to take place and interactions between adults and children can be modelled whilst they all work towards wellbeing and a healthy early years journey.
The families were given advice on potty training, bedtime routines, story telling, supporting physical development, health visitors assessments and supporting children’s progress at nursery. This was important as some of the children were at risk of underachieving in education. The centre continued to substitute home pack lunches with additional fruit, yogurts and bread sticks. They also served breakfast and healthy snacks through the day to ensure children could concentrate on learning. The centre has plans for the future: to continue this parental support, and to open a unit for children with Special Educational Needs and disabilities at the centre, the first for children aged 2-5 in the local area.
Many of Oasis families are young single parents or those who have experienced domestic abuse or substance abuse. Some of the families are considered homeless, living in the local hostel with their children. There is a high number of parents who are unemployed or on a very low income. Many of the parents want to do the best for their children but want more skills and confidence. In 2017 the centre had 60/70 families in regular contact of which 82% were deemed as vulnerable.