Community support

Funding level: Up to £1,000

Description

The Chiltern Child Contact Centre is based in Amersham Buckinghamshire. It formally opened in October 2011. The centre has achieved accreditation from the National Association of Child Contact Centres and is registered with the Charity Commission.
There is now considerable evidence to show the often negative emotional and social impact on children who lose contact with a separated parent. Our Child Contact Centre was set up to provide a safe, friendly and neutral place where those children of separated parents can spend quality time and build relationships with their non-resident parent and sometimes, other family members, with trained volunteers on hand to support the contact. The Contact Centre is a lifeline for families where, for various reasons e.g. relationship issues, mental heath problems ,employment constraints,the parentshave been unable to make their own amicable contact arrangements for their child or children but who do not want their children to lose contact with the separated parent.
Our Contact Centre is a child-centred environment that puts the needs of the children first. It is a place where children and non-resident parents can enjoy themselves in a warm, sociable atmosphere, with a variety of games, toys and books for children of all ages. Children are encouraged to bring a favourite toy to help them settle in. Parents do not need to pay to use the Contact Centre, as fees can sometimes deter a needy family. Tea, coffee, soft drinks and biscuits are also offered free of charge. The duration and frequency of contact sessions is arranged to meet the needs of individual families.
The Centre can accommodate up to 12 families at any session. The Centre supported 16 families and 24 children aged between 1 and 13 years in the period between July 2016 and June 2017. Review sessions were held with the co-ordinator after 6 weeks and feedback responses were universally positive.
Our Contact Centre is based in Amersham Free Church buildings and serves the needs of Amersham and the surrounding areas. It operates from 9.30 to 2.30 on the first and third Saturday of each month throughout the year. It is run by a part-time Coordinator and a team of trained and experienced volunteers .
Our volunteers and their coordinator are a special band of people who are discreet, caring and reassuring ,who impartially build relationships with parents ,who are often under considerable stress,
Feedback from some of our families
‘Thank you all for your genuine care and time. It means a lot in so many ways.’
‘Many, many thanks for all the time and effort you volunteers put into keeping the Contact Centre going. Your efforts are appreciated.’
‘We wanted to thank all the volunteers who make it possible for the Contact Centre to exist in Chiltern. For my son, it was a lifeline to his own son – both of whom love each other very much.’


Funding for the Centre
We are affiliated to the National Association of Child Contact Centres and follow their guidelines for good practice but Chiltern Child Contact Centre is nevertheless a separate entity, responsible for our own arrangements and finances.
Our overheads are considerable. A nominal amount is paid to the co-ordinator for the extra responsibilities entailed in liaison, interviews with parents, monitoring and recording, as well as recruiting and managing volunteers. In addition there is a significant outlay for insurance, rent , volunteer training and other costs, which cause us constantly to fundraise to keep the service going.
Chiltern Child Contact Centre has in the past ,received grants and support from the district council , local churches and various local charities.
A grant of £1000 from Aviva would make a significant contribution towards the running costs for the centre for the next year.

Project Video

Chiltern Child Contact Centre

Moment of Pride

The Centre has made a real difference for a number of local families, some of whom have been attending the centre since it started in 2011. This has only been made possible through the efforts of the local community which provides the dedicated volunteers and trustees that the centre relies on

Location: Amersham