CCF get stuck in on a visit with WILD Young Parents
CCF Trustee, Daiman Baker, and Grants Officer, Francis Baring, visit WILD Young Parents in Camborne last month. Francis tells us all about their visit:
WILD Young Parents was originally set up to provide support for young mothers under the age of 19. Since its establishment in 1992, WILD has extended its support to fathers, and engages with 300 families across Cornwall, from over 10 different locations. Typically, the work that the charity does is hands-on, practical and involves plenty of modelling to the young parents – the advice is never didactic.
I visited one of WILD’s sites at an allotment in Cambourne, the group was being run by Ian and Luke, two experienced support workers. On a sizeable allotment plot, under a sweet chestnut tree (thankfully, due to the blazing sun), the group has a polytunnel, veg beds and a small cabin with facilities for making drinks and preparing food. There were 3 young families at the site, one of whom had a 4 week old boy. A lively atmosphere pervaded, and it wasn’t long before Luke had flooded one of the unused veg beds with water to create a wonderfully muddy puddle. The children aged under 5 were encouraged to play and splash alongside Luke (the worker) and their parents – it’s not difficult to imagine the smiles that this activity brought.
WILD’s ethos is to create safe communities where the charity can engage with young families who are particularly vulnerable. Within these communities, the highly able workers can model engaging play between parents and children, encouraging healthy family relationships and ease the burden of early parenthood. The group that I attended was particularly focused on fathers (although the mothers attended too), one father said to us, how WILD had given him the confidence to engage with fatherhood in its many aspects. He explained how, initially, the various systems (health visitors etc.) had made him feel unsure what his role as a father should be but as he engaged with WILD his confidence had grown. He was clearly proud of his role as a father and professed to change all of his daughter’s nappies!
WILD are proactive at encouraging the confidence shown by these parents, and to promote this they are establishing a young person steering group at the charity (funded by our Intergrated Care Board Mental Health & Wellbeing fund) to give the young people more responsibility for guiding WILD’s direction. The workers are clear that promoting peer-to-peer support is critical to maximizing the benefits felt by all involved.