Without the centre, I wouldn’t have known what to do

Posted by / Friday 04 August 2017 / Families
Logan and Sophia Car Wash

We spoke to Fiona about how her local children’s centre helped her get out of the house and become a more confident parent. 

I guess when I really started using the centre was when me and my partner split up. I left him because it got into a bit of an abusive relationship. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know where to go. I got home and my house was still my house but I didn’t know how to do things with school or what I was entitled to.

I took the kids to the centre and they took the children to go and play. I sat with Rachel, Barleyfields centre staff, and explained what had happened with my partner and she helped me get through the next year. Nearly two years now actually. She gave me advice on what I could do and she helped me get me in touch with counselling.

That meant happy, mum happy children. 

logan cleaning big teeth

Even if it was to pop in and have a conversation, the centre was always open for us. It could be going to a group or stopping in for a coffee and a chat or if I needed help with school application forms. They’ve helped me with everything. My oldest son Duncan has autism and they helped me get in touch with Daisy Chain and Snaps and helped me go on courses to support him. I’m on positive parenting course at the moment, to help me be more confident on my own.

It used to take a lot for me to leave the house because of my anxiety and depression. I used to only leave to go to the centre or Tesco’s. 

I literally didn’t leave the area at all. If that place wasn’t on the doorstep here, I would have just been homebound. They’ve helped me get out and meet other parents and other people in similar situations. I’ve gained some really good friends from it as well who I meet outside of the centre now.


Breaking point

There was one day, my son Duncan had one of these meltdowns in Tesco’s. I had my baby with me too, he was only a couple of months old. He pooed in his nappy while Duncan was in-controllable and it was all too much. At that point I went to the centre and said can I just change the nappy here, I can’t do it in Tesco’s and Duncan’s going mad and, they just helped me. They helped me look after Duncan then, so I could go and change the baby’s nappy. Then they looked after the baby for a few minutes so I could go and have a cup of coffee just to calm down. If I had to do that on my own and go home, then someone would have just found me at home crying.

"It used to take a lot for me to leave the house because of my anxiety and depression. They’ve helped me get out and meet other parents and other people in similar situations."

Fiona, mum who visits Barleyfields Children's centre

Getting Duncan ready for nursery

Duncan is a lot happier now. When we first went to the centre before nursery he didn’t have any vocabulary. He didn’t really have any until after the age of 3, but going to the centre he gets to do messy play which he loves. It’s really good sensory play for him and he gets covered and it’s perfect for him.

Washing car

We did the Nearly Nursery course which helped set him up for nursery. It takes him a little longer to get used to things because of his autism. He needs structure routine and nearly nursery got him ready to get used to school and he’s just such a happy little boy now. He’s in mainstream school now which is brilliant. He’s a year behind but that doesn’t matter.

His teacher was just talking about how confident he is and how he knows little things like how to hang up his coat. Where to find his name tag from nearly nursery. It’s glowing reports all round at the moment.

Where I would be if the centre wasn’t here

Without the centre, I would have just been in the house all the time. That isn’t good for the kids. I wouldn’t have known what to do. I probably would have ended up moving back in with my mum. What we had allowed me to still be independent. I wouldn’t have known what kind of courses to do or had any support for Duncan. I don’t know how this would have affected him in the development scale, it’s not a very good thought to think about. I wouldn’t have had the same support network I have now and I know that.

"The centre is a place mums can come and not feel pressured or looked down on and we can just be here with our children."


Why we need Barleyfields

People think that people in our area, Inglby, doesn’t need this sort of resource because everyone has a car and everyone has the money to spend – the reality is, we don’t. Barleyfields is a place mums can come and not feel pressured or looked down on and we can just be here with our children. We’re all the same here. We don’t have all the resources but the centre makes us feel like we’re not at the bottom. It’s a lifeline for us all.

To find out if you have a children's centre in your area you can use our postcode look up below. You can also check the Family and Childcare Trust website, to see what other family services there are in your area. 

If you have children and often go to a children's centre and want to get in touch about how your local centre has made a difference to your life, then we would love to hear from you

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