What is a Child Contact centre?
Child contact centres are safe, friendly and neutral places where children of separated families can enjoy contact with their non-resident parents, and sometimes other family members eg grandparents.
For parents, it may be that trust has broken down or communication may have become difficult, but the hope is that in time the Centre becomes a handover point for contact in the community before access arrangements in the non-resident parent’s new home are finally possible.
Why do people use them?
What happens at a session?
Volunteers arrive before the 2 hour session in order to get out all the activities – this depends on the ages of the children that will be attending. The ages can range from a few months to 11+. They also provide the all important teas, coffees and biscuits!
Time is spent receiving parents, reassuring them that their children will be supervised, helping parents and children to play together and generally ensuring that the whole session is a success. A successful session means that conflict is avoided, and that both children and parents have a good time and look forward to the next occasion.
The Mothers’ Union (MU) in the Diocese of Winchester runs 2 child contact centres in Basingstoke – one at Popley and one in the town centre and supports a centre at Alton . These are manned by volunteers, mostly, but not exclusively, MU members, who are trained and help out on a regular basis. We operate under the umbrella of the National Association of Child Contact Centres (NACCC).
Further details on how to access these services can be found here or directly from our website menu.