FOR PROFESSIONALS

Our Services

Our services are all child centred, evidence based and selected to support the work of other professionals. Multi-agency is our watchword and we pride ourselves on doing it well.

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Our Services

How to Make an Introduction (Referral)

Information for Childcare Settings

Information for Schools

About our services

As a professional you can be confident that:

  • We always keep the child at the heart of what we do
  • We will always work with you and the family to ensure our work is complementary to yours
  • All of our services are evidence based
  • All of our programmes are endorsed by the Early Intervention Foundation

Below you will find a list of what we can offer, but you might also like to visit the parent information pages.

Parenting

Being a Parent (Empowering People, Empowering Communities)

The Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities (EPEC) Being a Parent course is a nine week programme based upon attachment theory, social learning, relational and cognitive/behavioural theories and methods.  It assumes that some parenting behaviours inadvertently encourage unwanted child behaviours, and so parents explore their own history of being parented, reflecting upon themselves as parents today.  A combination of group work and home work, enables parents to learn strategies for discouraging unwanted behaviours and for improving positive family interactions.

The EPEC programme is designed to build community capacity so that the community itself is able to provide support.  Parents are themselves recruited, trained and supported to deliver Being a Parent, while a rigorous scheme of professional, fortnightly supervision ensures safety and fidelity to the core programme.  Being a Parent is open to all parents from all backgrounds.

Our aims:

  • Promote early attachment and communication skills to support a child’s best start in life
  • Promote positive adult/child interaction
  • Build social/ community connectedness, encouraging engagement in local services and community resources
  • Promote a home environment which nurtures and supports children into adolescence and adulthood
  • Promote non directed play.
  • To manage family stress, promoting improved mental health in both parents and child.

Five to Thrive

Five to Thrive LogoCentral to the Five to Thrive approach is the set of five key activities: Respond, Engage, Relax, Play and Talk.  These are the ‘building blocks for a healthy brain’, and are drawn from research into the key processes of attachment and attunement that forge bonds between young children and their carers.  Crucially, they are designed to support positive feedback processes, enabling practitioners to observe and reinforce positive interaction between parents and their children.

This is delivered to parents through six sessions, with each of the five blocks receiving a focus to allow parents to understand the principles, see them in action through our early years workers and practice themselves through fun activities.

Our aims:

  • To increase parental confidence, with knowledge and understanding of how RESPOND is essential for brain development.
  • To support parents to understand that loving connections (ENGAGE) build strong connections in our brain.
  • To stimulate awareness of why RELAX is important in order for the nervous system to re balance and co-regulate.
  • To increase parents confidence and understanding of how PLAY and ‘playfulness’ (one of voice, body language, facial expression, repetition) all creates brain patterns for life.
  • For parents to realise the importance of TALKing and listening to embed paths of neural networks for language. This is the key to thought.

New Parent, New Baby

Come along to meet other parents with young babies (0-8 months) and share ideas for activities to enjoy with your baby.  This six-week programme (based on Five to Thrive) builds week by week and will cover:

  • Meet and greet
  • Creating a canvas footprint
  • Dental health
  • Looking after yourself
  • Ideas for play and making sensory bottles
  • Visit from the librarian

Baby Steps

Baby Steps helps mums-to-be and their partners prepare for being a parent.  While most antenatal programmes cover mainly the medical aspects of birth, Baby Steps goes much further and will parents-to-be get ready for their new life with baby.

Sessions include films, group discussions and creative activities. They’re interactive and designed to build confidence and communication skills. There’s a strong focus on building relationships between parents and their babies.

Baby Steps covers six themes:

  • the development of the unborn baby
  • changes for the parents-to-be
  • health and wellbeing of parents
  • giving birth and meeting baby
  • caring for baby
  • who is there for us – people and services.

Following completion of the Baby Steps programme, parents can then go on to join our baby massage groups.

Baby Massage

A programme aimed at young parents and/or those families with identified need. For parents and their non-moving babies to encourage bonding and communication through soothing touch

Early Learning

Bookstart

This National Literacy based programme is designed to support families support their child’s literacy development.  Reading together is great for bonding and building strong and loving relationships, while the routine of sharing stories and rhymes helps children to communicate and will support their wellbeing.  Children who are read to from an early age do better when they get to school – learning rhymes and stories together give them a flying start!

Research has shown that in early life periods, interactions and experience can determine whether a child’s brain architecture provides a strong foundation for their future health, wellbeing and development.  Research goes on to show that there is a significant gap between children with good and poor language skills when they begin school and that this gap remains consistent throughout their schooling. It is therefore absolutely vital that language skills prior to school are promoted to address this gap.

Our aims:

  • To promote communication and positive interaction between parent and child to support development of early language
  • To highlight the importance of sharing stories, books and rhymes and the fun this brings
  • To promote a daily story, book and rhyme sharing habit/routine
  • To promote the importance of the home environment in shaping a child’s future
  • To demonstrate and value the parent/carer role building on what they already do to support communication skills.

Early Words Together

This National Literacy based programme is designed to support families that need additional help and encouragement with supporting their child’s literacy development (2 to 3 years old).  We know that have the development of language skills in the early years has implications for a child’s behavioural, mental health and life outcomes and early intervention can make a positive difference to children’s language development.

Early Words Together at Two is a five week programme for families of two to three-year-old children.  It is designed to build parental confidence, support a positive home learning environment, and develop a supportive relationship between our service and families.

The programme aims to close the word gap of children starting school, by increasing opportunities for children to hear and learn new words, via literacy based activities that are modelled within the children’s centre and then taken home to embed.

Our aims:

  • To increase children’s language and literacy and attention skills
  • To empower parents and carers to improve the home learning environment and to support their child’s learning and development
  • To support families with early language skills with the aim of closing the word gap.

Five to Thrive

Five to Thrive Logo​Central to the Five to Thrive approach is the set of five key activities: Respond, Engage, Relax, Play and Talk.  These are the ‘building blocks for a healthy brain’, and are drawn from research into the key processes of attachment and attunement that forge bonds between young children and their carers.  Crucially, they are designed to support positive feedback processes, enabling practitioners to observe and reinforce positive interaction between parents and their children.

This is delivered to parents through six sessions, with each of the five blocks receiving a focus to allow parents to understand the principles, see them in action through our early years workers and practice themselves through fun activities.

Our aims:

  • To increase parental confidence, with knowledge and understanding of how RESPOND is essential for brain development.
  • To support parents to understand that loving connections (ENGAGE) build strong connections in our brain.
  • To stimulate awareness of why RELAX is important in order for the nervous system to re balance and co-regulate.
  • To increase parents confidence and understanding of how PLAY and ‘playfulness’ (one of voice, body language, facial expression, repetition) all creates brain patterns for life.
  • For parents to realise the importance of TALKing and listening to embed paths of neural networks for language. This is the key to thought.

Little Learners

Evidence based, early education programmes are delivered by a team of Early Years Workers.  The largest of our groups is Little Learners, an EYFS based stay and play held in community buildings.   It also incorporates key educational and public health messages, together with visits from partners.

Transition

Parents of children attend four sessions developed to cover Wiltshire Council’s ‘Top Tips for Starting School’.  These form the key ‘consistent messages’ that we are working towards as an outcome across services to secure a transition to primary school that supports wellbeing and development.

Our aims:

  • To increase parents’ understanding of the skills needed to become ‘school ready’
  • To provide a platform for parents to discuss concerns/queries and gain reassurance on all aspects regarding starting school
  • To share practical ideas and support to improve the home learning environment and engage parents in supporting their child’s development and learning in preparation for school.

1 to 1 family support

One to one support is provided in the home by our team of Family Support Workers (FSWs). Our major referral source is health visiting who work with us closely both within the children’s centres and the community.  Other sources include midwifery, Wiltshire Council, pre-schools and families themselves.

Although parenting is often the primary reason for the referral, there are normally other factors present such as financial issues, relationship difficulties between parents, domestic abuse and poor mental health.

The type of work undertaken will depend upon the goals identified by the family, but may include parenting support, role modelling of Five to Thrive principles, help with family and relationship breakdown, and assistance with budgeting and finances. All FSWs are trained in evidenced based programmes including Being a Parent, the Freedom Programme, You and Me, Mum and EPEC Being a Parent.

Our aims:

  • To build honest and trusting relationships, characterised by persistence and respectful challenge.
  • To use this relationship and attachment theory to strengthen interfamily relationships.
  • To help families create a personal action plan, progressed over the duration of the support.
  • To help families access targeted children’s centre programmes, and support available from partner agencies, sometimes speaking on behalf of the family and sometimes challenging the family alongside other agencies.
  • To provide practical support in overcoming day to day barriers and difficulties.

Health and breastfeeding

Health visitor clinics

Although these universal groups are not currently running owing to the Covid-19 lockdown, these drop-in groups are normally accessible in all of our children’s centres on a variety of days and times.

If you have any concerns and you would like to speak to a health visitor, you can contact them via:

Single point of access number: 0300 247 0090

Wiltshire Children’s Services

Breastfeeding support – Mum2mum

Support is available for pregnant mums who are thinking about breastfeeding, or who are already breastfeeding and looking for extra advice and support.  During Covid, support is being provided online via teams by experienced mums who are trained to provide support.  We are able to offer one to one appointments, or small group sessions which run several times a week.

If mum would prefer, we can also arrange for one of our experienced peer supporters to call and a provide support via the telephone.

Other sources of help include:

National Breastfeeding helpline: 0300 100 0212 or National Breastfeeding Helpline

Breastfeeding Network

Breast pump hire

There are many reasons you might be considering the use of a breast pump, but we know that these can be expensive and you may not be sure if it is right for you.  Each of our children’s centres has a small stock of machines that we are able to lend out for an agreed period, so please do contact us (can this be a link to the contact us page).  The cost of the hire is normally a one off £10.00 fee as some of the parts need to be replaced each time we lend the machine out, but please don’t let this put you off requesting a loan as we are more than happy to take individual circumstances into account.

Healthy Start vitamins

All pregnant women, women with a baby under one year old and children aged up to their fourth birthday are entitled to claim their free Healthy Start vitamins.

Healthy Start vitamins contain vitamins A, C and D for children aged from birth to four years, and folic acid and vitamins C and D for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Two types of Healthy Start products are available:

  • Healthy Start children’s vitamin drops (containing vitamins A, C and D)
  • Healthy Start vitamins for women (containing folic acid and vitamins C and D).

Find out more at NHS Healthy Start vitamins, or contact your nearest children’s centre.

Cooking and healthy eating

During the Covid-19 lockdown we’re able to offer online cooking sessions in partnership with Anybody Can Cook. With a focus on easy, cheap and nutritious recipes, sessions are designed as fun food activities, containing lots of ideas for parents to get their children involved with preparing their own food.

On a one to one basis our family support workers can also work with families on issues such as fussy eaters, shopping healthily on a budget and access to foodbanks. Most centres will carry some emergency food boxes, and staff are able to support families access these through foodbanks where travel etc for the family is an issue.

First aid

In partnership with Wiltshire First Aid we are currently able to offer a free online paediatric first aid course, which will parents and carers with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to deal with paediatric first aid situations. This course covers key topics including: basic life support, shocks, seizures, fractures, bleeding and burns.

This is a flexible, online course that is accessed from the family’s home and completed at their own pace.  It is available to all families with children aged 0-5 years old living in south, east or west Wiltshire.

Injury prevention monthly themes

Injury prevention is an important part of all of our groups, and each month we have separate themes. If families join one of our Little Learners groups they will always receive the latest information and advice, or families can go to our What’s Happening page and take a look at all of our newsletters where there is always injury prevention information and advice.

Domestic Abuse

If you are working with a mum who has been in a domestic abuse relationship in the past, or even if they have been in relationship they think might have been, we can help mum look at how this will have affected her and her children, working alongside mum to ensure that she is safe and happy in future relationships.

The Freedom Programme

This is a ten-week course for mothers who have experienced domestic abuse in their relationships. The course aims to help empower, build confidence and support women to recognise the early signs of potential abuse. The group also provides the opportunity for women to recognise and share their experiences in a safe place.

You and Me, Mum

This is a ten-week course programme for mothers that helps the survivor of domestic abuse to understand how domestic violence affects them as a parent and how it affects their children. It is designed to empower women, support them and develop their understanding of their role as a mother in addressing the needs of their children. The course focuses on self empowerment and mutual aid, recognising the central role of mothers in the protection and positive development of their children and young people.

Freedom for Children

Children who have lived, or are living, with domestic abuse are often the forgotten victims. Children can fall through the cracks, with very few services to help them understand what has happened and to support them as individuals.

Children often do not have the vocabulary to voice their needs or experiences, and it is important that we recognise behaviours in which we can identify the experiences of the child. It is more obvious when these behaviours are such that the child becomes seen as being ‘disruptive’, but it is just as likely that the child will become a people pleaser, always willing to help, hardworking, kind, a pleasure to have in class. School may be the only place the child receives any encouragement or praise and so they will work really hard to gain this.

Through this programme, children are supported to understand what has happened, or is happening around them. They experience a safe place where they can tell their own story to a practitioner who looks to interpret their behaviours as much as their words. Where the child is old enough, they will learn to identify any abusive adults in their lives in terms such as the ‘bully dragon’, the ‘liar dragon’ or the ‘jailer dragon’, as well as identify the safe adults in their lives who show the opposite behaviours, making them the ‘friendly dragon’, the ‘truth-teller dragon’ and the ‘freedom dragon’.

Baby Clothes Bundles

For families struggling to buy clothes and other items for the baby (0 to 12 months) our Together for Families colleagues provide free bundles of the most commonly required items. If you would like to find out more please contact us at wiltshirecc@spurgeons.org.

If you would like to refer a family for the service, please visit our How to Refer page

Filial Play Therapy

This is a course of one-to-one sessions with parents/carers which teach them effective play skills and basic reflective techniques regarding how to relate to their child through play. This helps repair fractured relationships by reducing challenging behaviour and/or anxious behaviours and increasing the confidence of the parent.

Through a 12 to 16 week tailored programme (delivered in one hour appointments), individual parents/carers will learn about different methods of play, some developmental psychology and directive/non-directive play. Parents will be enabled to practice these techniques at home.

Most sessions will be with parent/carer but some will be with their child.

Early Support Assesments

Would you like us to help by taking on the role of ESA lead? We’re happy to act as the lead for any family with a 0-5 year old, from registration through the whole process. Please contact us.

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