Helping parents and children get the Best Start

Becoming a new parent or carer can be very isolating and confusing. But help is at hand from Touchstone’s Best Start Peer Support Project.

The Best Start’s group recent Teddy Bears’ picnic

Our focus is on enabling parents to feel happier and healthier, so that they can meet their children’s needs and raise happy healthy children. By bringing together parents/carers in a safe space to talk about stress, positive communication and self-worth, we aim to create new networks of support and friendships. This, in turn, enables parents/carers to seek help from specialist services if they need them and makes them more open to sharing what they know and what they’ve learned with other parents in their communities. It has also led to some parents/carers becoming more confident in accessing parenting courses (such as HENRY, Incredible Toddlers and Baby Steps) which contain information pertinent to other parts of the city wide Best Start Agenda.

Best Start Peer Support Project has already delivered two six-week courses in Middleton and one in Beeston. This has resulted in 21 parents/carers completing our course. We encourage all our participants to take specific action to share the things they have learnt on this course, and from each other, so that they become community assets and sources of further help and support.  From these participants, 9 have also applied to go on to do further volunteer training with us, which has already been completed by 3 of them.  These trained volunteers are able to get involved with specific pieces of work for the Best Start Peer Support Project, or they can get support and guidance in starting their own community ventures.

A further Best Start Peer Support course is planned at the Hamara Centre in Beeston for September 2018 and we are trying to find suitable venues to deliver training in any or all of Holbeck, Belle Isle and Hunslet.  If anyone is interested on coming to one of our programmes and meeting new friends please contact Karen Marshall or Leeane Rowinska on (0113) 271 8277 or email:


This post was written by Karen Marshall.