Elmhurst grandparent and toddler group
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 14:15
Elmhurst Sure Start Children’s Centre
Address: Elmhurst Infant School, Dunsham Lane, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 2DB
Elmhurst grandparent and toddler group was set up because grandparents in the area who had been attending playtime in the local children’s centre wanted a group which was specifically for people who were in a similar situation to them.
Elmhurst children’s centre decided to create a grandparents and toddlers group, with the support of The Grandparents Association, in the hope that eventually volunteers will eventually take on more and more responsibility for running of the group. At first it was difficult to find members for the group but the numbers increased numbers through word-of-mouth and the children’s centre and the Grandparent’s Association spent some time leafleting people using the centre and in the surrounding area.
The group initially faced some barriers to recruiting volunteers. Even though they found people who would be happy to volunteer in the sense of generally helping out, they found it difficult to recruit volunteers who would have sole responsibility for running the group. For this reason, the Family Support Workers at the children’s centre decided to provide support running the group, to take some of the pressure off the volunteers until the group became more established. Support workers also spent time reassuring potential volunteers that they will still have the support of the Children's Centre and the Family Support Worker as the group continues to run, explaining that volunteers need only take on as much responsibility as they are comfortable with.
The group now has two members who volunteer on a regular basis. The children’s centre is hoping to recruit more volunteers so less time and commitment is required from each volunteer, making it more attractive to become a volunteer. Currently, volunteers and group members play a significant role in the promotion of the group and make suggestions of what activities and services they would like it to offer.
The children’s centre found that grandparent’s tend to volunteer because other grandparents in the group that they know have convinced them of the benefits of doing so. Also, grandparents want to volunteer after they have stopped being carers, as when they used the group as carers they saw the value of the group for other grandparents and children. The grandparents understood the value of the group and wanted to see it continue and progress. The volunteers feel the benefit of having a sense of ownership of the group, tailoring it to fit their needs.
The group has also receives further support from the Grandparents’ Association, whose support officer visits the group on a regular basis and is able to offer support with volunteer applications and general advice on running the group and providing support to grandparents.
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