Supporting parents in Basildon
Parents4Parents is a Basildon-based project that aims to improve the outcomes for families and children in the local area. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the group recognised that many parents were still anxious to leave their house and into group settings which consequently affected their mental and physical wellbeing.
The initial aim of the sessions set up by Parents4Parents was to offer a 10 – week Chakradance course for local parents during term time. However upon reflection, the 3 step kickstart selection of movement taster sessions of yoga and Zumba, helped to support participants with their family challenges, as they only needed to commit to 1 session initially.
After finding the sessions that the most enjoyed, the Parents4Parents group were better able to tailor their offer.
Their range of physical activity offer, utilises different wellbeing techniques to improve both the participants physical and mental wellbeing. The movements and sessions were designed so that the mothers could go at their own pace, meaning that those new to activity were not excluded and could enjoy the sessions without any barriers.
Funded initially through the Essex Local delivery Pilot Microgrant programme, these sessions have developed over the past two years, with support from Active Essex. This has ensured the sessions can continue to support mothers with mental health, neurodiverse and cultural challenges.
It was important to create a relaxing environment, so that the group could reconnect with their bodies and minds, and not feel judged by others. One way in which they were able to achieve this, was by dimly lighting the room.
Participants are often vulnerable, isolated, and lacking in confidence and consequently would not access an exercise class by themselves. By bringing the class to them the trust was already there, the safe environment made them feel included, and they've really connected with others in their community.
Instructors were carefully chosen, to make sure participants would be felt supported in a sensitive and empathetic manne. As the class has developed they have decided to make it a regular addition to the parents from the ethnically diverse communities usual language and support sessions.
Parents4Parents utilised community spaces to ensure cost effectiveness and made sure to hold the sessions during times that would be accessible to the mothers. They have been able to successfully continue to increase their number of attendees by ensuring they understand the mothers schedules, and hold sessions at times and venues best suited to them.