Teenage Parents Project

The Hartcliffe and Withywood Teenage Parents Project provides practical, emotional and mentoring support to teenage parents and their children in the BS13 area (that’s Bristol for those not frum rownd yur). They provide open access sessions across the estate and deliver an in-house training programme all with creche provision. They aim to promote inclusion, participation, achievement, equal opportunities and self esteem.

teenage parents project

The organisation allows young parents and their children to access a service which is specifically set up for them. Most families stay within the organisation for a number of years raising their confidence and self esteem. Drop in sessions are provided from four venues in and around the estate maximising accessibility. All young families gain empowerment through having their voices heard allowing them to access other community services to benefit their individual needs.

The project has been able to raise parent’s ambitions leading to them gaining NVQ’s, attending universities and even opening their own business within the community. Children gain social, educational and development skills within our crèche supporting their continuous success through out school years. In 2010 the project helped more than 70 families gain a sense of belonging within the community and supported them to find their path for the future.

A number of parents have gained a NVQ Level 2 qualification at the project meaning the next stage of qualification for them is a Level 3 Diploma. The project and its members have been presented with the opportunity to undertake this qualification at the project where accessing the crèche for their children will be available. The project hopes to offer a progression route that will allow these families to break free from the benefits system and find financial independence; this in turns sets a good example of work ethics and education to their children, the community and the next generation.

I rarely use this blog to ask readers for money, but this brilliant project need funds. I know that it is a local project, but I also know that a reasonable number of the visitors to this blog are local or local-ish.
The testimonials on the project website give you a flavour of how significant their support can be for young parents – have a read.
And if you do feel able to help out, you can donate here.
Although the majority of members tend to be mothers the project offers a programme of activities that Dads/Fathers can access such as a Level 2 accredited course in Health and Fitness at Merchants Academy Gym and in partnership with City of Bristol College which takes place weekly on a Monday morning.

Also during the Summer we offer a Summer Programme, to Puxton Park, Avon Valley County Park where families – mums and dads and children – can share quality time together in a relaxed environment.

Through Consultation the project are hoping  to secure additional funding to allow this work to continue to develop further and ensure that Dads have allocated sessions if they require.

In light of comments on this blog post they are also planning to ensure that they have a web page dedicated to the work they carry out with Dads.


9 thoughts on “Teenage Parents Project

  1. It would be even more deserving if as a project it paid attention to the child’s needs for father involvement.
    A start is at least them calling themselves a teenage parent project, but a quick look over their web site I struggled to find any references picture or links about anything to do with the dads of these children. Sadly it’s the same over here with all the resources for teen parents going to supporting the mums and children with barely a mention of dads.

    • Ken, The project is expressly for teenage parents i.e. both mums and dads – parents who have a whole host of issues to deal with apart from those arising from separation, although self evidently some of the users will be single parents. For a raft of (benign) reasons that I am sure we both understand I would guess the take up is greater by mums than dads. There is at least one picture of a dad on the site, and they run a contact centre in order to enable children to continue relationships with both parents. Why has everything got to be engineered into an opportunity to make a point about father’s rights?

  2. Projects like this can make an amazing difference to the confidence of young parents. It is important though to make sure that the door is properly and fully open to teenage dads and it takes more than one picture and a contact centre to do that. Too many teenage dads find themselves pushed out by grandma and too many teenage girls are doing it by themselves just like their mother did. Positive images of mums and dads together, pictures of young dads with their children, quotes and stories from dads who have been there and done that and services that have dad in mind not just mum are the way to open the door and keep it open. In other countries, where gender mainstreaming is used to plan and deliver services, the needs of young men would form the core of the delivery of the service. The statement ‘but only mums use the service’ would be seen as evidence that something was not being offered that should be – wherever there is a teenage single mum there is a dad somewhere…when services are provided with dad in mind and the service reflects the experience and need of dad then dad will come through the door – and when he does, mums will moan that their service is being taken over and so you have to ensure that you offer something that encourages mum and dad to work together – and when you do you find that far from being feckless, wreckless and hopeless as so many teenage parents are labelled, they are actually brilliant parents, full of energy and their kids do fantastically well. Its not carping about fathers rights, its a matter of making sure that services are fully and properly inclusive so that an invisible group of people who are marginalised and often discriminated against can be the best parents that they actually, often, want to be.

  3. Karen makes the point wonderfully, as I said calling it a teenage parent centre is a start (but not the full job) – the local centre where I’m based is a teenage mums centre, with no attempt to engage the dads. This is not about fathers rights, it’s about children’s rights to a life of opportunity with both parents be they teenagers or otherwise. The children of teen parents are the most vulnerable in any case. They will be less vulnerable when their dads are involved.
    As a side not the first thing I say to dads who contact me is, it’s not about their rights it’s about their children’s rights. Their children’s moral right to a full and complete life with both their parents.

  4. All,
    Thanks for your comments which I have passed onto the project. See the amendment I have put at the bottom of the substantive post, taken from an email received from them today. You will see that they have taken on board the fact that the website does not currently reflect the work they do with dads and that they plan to rectify this.

  5. Excellent news Lucy, thank you for passing on the comments. I will look forward to hearing more about the work being done and the outcomes. In our own project with young parents we increased the use of services to an almost even 49% male and 51% female simply by using gender analysis and gender budgeting in our planning and delivery. its what lead us to reform all of our work around a gender analysis model which in turn delivers holistic family support that is inclusive of all the different needs of mums and dads. Its not rocket science but it makes a massive difference to the children of young parents who get to build up relationships with mum AND dad.

  6. Good to see some constructive dialogue happening here.

    Amazing things can happen when we disabuse the world of its preconceptions that dads only care about exercising their rights. They want to be respected as parents, of course, but above all they want to protect their children from growing up in those miserable single-parent cradles of personality disorder, poverty, teenage pregnancy and crime, which Gingerbread promotes so fervently.

  7. Why isn’t Karen Woodall given the job as Children’s Commissioner?

    It is significant how Ken’s initial comment raised no eyebrows with regard to the Bristol project until Karen’s illuminating intervention.

    Karen’s mantra, that gender neutral services deliver gender biased outcomes, deserves to become formalised as a plank of official UK government policy on families.

  8. None of them are listening Paul. Where profit is the king motive, nobody could care less about child safety, especially if it means changing a highly gender-discriminatory status quo.

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