Parent champions needed to support local families
Friday 5 February: Hillingdon Council has received £38,665 from the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime to introduce a new targeted parenting programme to tackle child criminal exploitation and is now looking for volunteers to support parents of local children.
The council has received several accolades for its preventative approach towards young people at risk of exploitation, and was recently nominated for an award for its innovative AXIS project which identifies hard-to-reach children and promotes early intervention.
The council is working with parenting organisation, Brilliant Parents, to recruit and train 15 'parent champions' in West Drayton, Yiewsley, Hayes and Harlington for the prevention programme.
Dedicated parent champions will offer advice, guidance and support to families and help build community resilience by ensuring that parents are able to recognise the signs of exploitation.
Nawaal Omar, aged 39 from West Drayton, recently signed up to be a parent champion. She said: "I decided to volunteer because there is a great need in my community when it comes to the needs of adolescents. It can be challenging sometimes to be a positive parent, but the training I've received so far has given me some useful parenting strategies to help my family and my community.
"To be a parent champion, you need to able to engage with parents, be a good listener and feel comfortable enough to encourage parents to attend a parenting programme. The best part of the role is being helpful and being able to share all the right information with my community, and I hope we can teach parents how to communicate with their children."
Voluntary parent champions will receive full training and supervision and will need to commit to four hours per week over four months. The role involves listening to parents' issues, offering non-judgemental advice and passing on key positive parenting principles.
Cllr Jane Palmer, Hillingdon Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: "We are really pleased to be delivering a parenting programme that will help build resilience in our communities and protect our young people from criminal exploitation.
"By volunteering as a parent champion, not only will you be given the opportunity to learn and develop new skills, but you will be making a valuable contribution to the lives of families whose children may be at risk of exploitation."
To find out more about becoming a parent champion or if you think your family may need support, visit www.brilliantparents.org
If you suspect that a child or young person is at risk of child criminal exploitation, call the police on 101 or Hillingdon's Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub on 01895 556644. If a child is at immediate risk of harm or danger, please call 999.