Information about the centreThe Centre has two comfortable warm rooms and is equipped with toys for a wide age range. Here a visiting parent and their children can enjoy each other’s company in a neutral venue after a family breakdown. A waiting room is available for the adult bringing the child. The most important people in the Centre are the children.
How often can contact take place?After the initial pre-visit, arrangements will be made through the Co-ordinator. We recommend that for small babies, weekly for 1 hour is preferable to fortnightly for 2 hours. We have no time limit for the number of visits but encourage families to move on when possible.
Finding the centreThere is a map and directions detailed on the How to find us page.
What happens on arrival?There are volunteers at both reception areas to greet clients and book them in.
The resident parent/carer will be shown into a waiting room until the child’s visitor arrives. Visitors will be shown to the quiet room where they will have their own area with a small table, bean bag and comfy chair. The child will then be taken through by either a volunteer or its accompanying adult.
The Co-ordinator organises the overall running of the Centre. Each week’s session is led by a Team Leader and assisted by four or five well trained volunteers.
Who is in charge?
Who is allowed to have contact?The person(s) stated on the court order or whoever has been mutually agreed beforehand..
What are the costs?We operate a free service. However as an independent charity we are always grateful for donations to help us with running costs and sustaining the service.
Low priced refreshments are available for parents/carers and children during contact sessions.
A copy of Ben’s, Lily’s or Molly’s story (and CD) will be given to the child(ren) at the pre-visit. We ask that the resident parent pays for this at the pre-visit (£5).
What if clients can’t come?They should let each other know if possible and must phone the Centre Co-ordinator on 07791 482030 in advance, so that others can be accommodated.
Clients must also ring if they will be late arriving for contact on a Saturday.
Are reports about contact given to other agencies and statutory bodies?No reports are made unless there are concerns for a child’s well-being. We do, if requested, supply date and times of visits. Arrangements may be made with the Co-ordinator for your contact to be observed by an outside agency involved in contact arrangements such as CAFCASS. These arrangements must be made in advance.
Do clients have to meet?Clients do not have to meet. The resident parent/carer and child(ren) can gain access to the outer lobby at 2.00pm and be admitted into the building at 2.15pm. Visitors should not arrive before 2.30pm but should be punctual. It may be arranged for visitors to remain behind for five minutes to prevent contact outside on leaving.
Can the child go out?Yes, if it has been arranged beforehand with the referrer or the resident parent/carer. Some families use the Centre as a ‘handover’ point when both sides have agreed or there is a court order stipulating this. In this instance the visiting parent may take the child(ren) out of the Centre during the hours of contact and then return the child(ren) to the Centre to be handed back to the resident parent/carer.
Are there any rules?Very few – we are all volunteers and try to maintain a relaxed and informal atmosphere, however;
- Parents are responsible for the safety and supervision of their children at all times. The resident parent/carer must wait with them until their visitor arrives.
- Alcohol and drugs are not permitted on the premises. Centre staff reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone they feel would compromise the safety of the other users.
- Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the premises.
- Photos may be taken with permission from the Team Leader in charge, to preserve confidentiality (unless prevented by court order). It is important to note that mobile phones may not be used to make or take calls during contact.
- The facilities provided should be respected – the top room is a rumpus room to let off steam; the lower room is for quieter activities such as board games, stories and gentle baby play.
- The privacy and confidentiality of other clients should be respected.
- Disruptive or unreasonable behaviour will be met with a request to leave the building.
- By mutual agreement between both parties, volunteers are happy to overview toileting and changing. If this is not acceptable, the adult bringing the child must remain in waiting room to help if required.
FinallyIf anyone feels that there is anything more we can do to help or if anyone has any complaints, comments or praise, we would be grateful if they would mention it to the Co-ordinator or volunteers on duty.
It is unfair to draw children into parental disputes or pump them for information - this a a safe area where they can feel unpressurised, be able to enjoy themselves and have good memories.
We are here to help you and your child(ren).
You may find it helpful to watch the following short animation with your children. It is about how four children get on when they visit a child contact centre (video courtesy of Relationship Scotland).