CHILDREN 1ST AND GLASGOW - EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES
Children 1st in Glasgow has been working with partners, including Glasgow City CPP on a project that aims to help ensure that local families in the Gorbals area are able to influence decision making in the city, in particular to ensure children have safe places to play. They have been using improvement methodology through the Early Years Collaborative to test and measure news ways to engage parents and carers and families.
The first steps involved setting up a group of local parents and carers to help them have the confidence to be more involved in decisions that impact on their community. Using an assets based approach, Children 1st met with the parents to ascertain what was positive about their community, what they would like to change and what they needed help with. The parents themselves came up with a recipe for improving community engagement. This included identifying the ingredients needed for change such as a venue and list of the assets and skills they could contribute. Then they identified the methods for change which included breaking down barriers to communication and clarity about their aspirations. Finally they identified the challenges to change and this included ensuring everyone has a role and the importance of trust.
Following the first meeting, the group met regularly and also consulted with children and young people about their safety and play aspirations. Improvement methodology was applied throughout the process, enabling Children 1st to measure and see the impact of the overall group work. Each parent/carer was asked to keep a weekly measure of their knowledge, influence and motivation around creating change. This was very helpful in enabling Children 1st to measure the impact of the group. This measurement highlighted how the capacity, confidence and skills of parents/carers grew, enabling them to become advocates of change in their community. Many of the parents felt that their confidence increased as a result of the group and they are now actively contributing to meetings of the CPP. The group is now sustainable with parents and carers in the lead and Children 1st less involved. Additionally, involvement in the group has led to other positive impacts for parents including having the confidence to move on to further learning and make healthier choices.
Supporting the Third Sector
The Scottish Government values the vital role of the third sector in providing services for children, young people and families. Children 1st has received £272,000 through the Children, Young People and Families Early Intervention Fund in 2016-17 to support its core activities.
Community Empowerment and Engagement
The Scottish Government is committed to our communities being supported to do things for themselves – community empowerment – and to people having their voices heard in the planning and delivery of services – community engagement and participation. The Community Empowerment Act 2015 will improve outcomes for communities and, quality improvement through the Early Years Collaborative can be used to test, measure and evidence innovative ways of working that build community resilience and capacity.