Building confidence

04 October 2018

“The project has created a stronger sense of community which is changing how parents feel and their daily social interactions when out and about in town.”

In this piece, we hear from Cynthia about how the parent, baby and toddler group is supporting local people to make a difference in their lives.

“The project provides a safe space for families to meet, socialise and support each other.

It offers different ways for parents to get involved and take control of all aspects of the project.

There are also play workers on site and visits from external providers offering a wide range of activities including first aid training.

Local people work together to improve children's abilities to settle and progress well upon starting reception class, as well as enjoy and achieve at school.

It is a playgroup where the parents stay. It is based in a big hall with lots of good toys. The children play, socialise and sing – they enjoy all of the activities.

Parents can find a seat to sit down, chat and watch their children interacting with others whilst playing with them.

Parents learn new skills too, there are community education talks and we have had residents who have gone on to achieve GCSEs.

The project has created a stronger sense of community which is changing how parents feel and their daily social interactions when out and about in town.

The parents even have their own Facebook page and organise outings and events in school holidays. It is made such a remarkable difference, as some parents said they were incredibly scared when they first joined because they didn’t know anybody.

They often come up with new ideas for educational talks and activities and organise them.

They have created a buy and sell group in a room next door, where parents can swap clothes and toys with each other.

I have read with a local school for the last 17 years and a few years ago, we noticed that some of the children could do with some extra support – which is where the idea for the project came from.

You can see such an incredible difference in the children, through the project. Their reading is wonderful and they are making new friends and socialising.

We even had a baby who was three days old attend because its sibling didn’t want to miss a session so the mum brought them both.”

Cynthia Hesmondhalgh, Chair of Trustees of East Thirsk Community Association


East Thirsk Community Association is funded by People’s Health Trust with money raised by The Health Lottery in Yorkshire and the Humber through The Health Lottery.

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