Charity of the Year connected articles

During 2018/19, Romsey Mill will share stories in connected about their work and show how they create opportunities with young people, children and families.
Building relationships to support families

Building relationships is the hallmark of all aspects of Romsey Mill’s work.

These relationships provide the foundation for helping those in our communities overcome the daily challenges and barriers that they face. They enable us to offer opportunities for families to learn important new skills and wraparound care for those feeling overwhelmed. Since Romsey Mill was established as a charity in 1980, our base in Cambridge, Romsey Mill Centre, has served as a community hub and the provision of a safe and welcoming space has been vital in helping families with young children to combat isolation and build community.

Our Child & Family Worker Susan Condie provides an important link for our work with families across other areas of our work, including our Pre-School provision and our work with teenage mums and young fathers.

Encouraging local parents and their under 5s
Our weekly play session called ‘Little Millers’ engages with more than 250 families with children aged four and under, providing advice and encouragement over issues like pre-school provision, language development and behaviour. The Little Millers group dovetails with Romsey Mill’s Pre-School provision, across two settings in Cambridge, which helps many local families receiving funding for their child’s place. All of these are opportunities for us to get to know the families and for us to generate the support that they both want and need.



Moving from Anxiety to Resilience
We are increasingly finding that anxiety is an issue for many families. So, we deliver a bespoke Building Resilience course for parents. Through teaching parents about anxiety and encouraging them to think about how to build resilience in their children, they also consider the impact that their own anxieties might have on their children. By understanding anxiety, they increase in self confidence to cope with everyday stresses, recognising how thoughts affect behaviour and are better able to face significant challenges such as lone parenting and children with additional needs, in a positive way.

Comments from parents on the course included:
“I’d take notes home and go over them with the children in our family time - it helped them verbalise their problems and emotions”
“I found it really useful and it helped me to build my confidence back up.”
“The course helped me learn about different strategies to aid resilience and support my child.”


Saving money through new skills
We also run a series of courses to teach parents new skills, such as a Creative Sewing Group, which helps people with no previous experience and low confidence. The parents love having time to themselves and enjoying how to be creative and learning new skills gives them a real sense of achievement. They also learn how sewing can help save money - by making and mending things and replacing buttons, and not having to throw clothes out or buy new.

Fun with a cardboard box
We also run Creative and Interactive Play coaching sessions to encourage parents to find simple and inexpensive ways to add to their playtime with their children and support bonding between parent and child. This has included activities such as transforming cardboard boxes into cars to stimulate the children’s imaginative play, and boost the young parents’ confidence, giving them a real sense of satisfaction and helping them to come up with their own ideas for creative play with their child.

But ultimately, it’s not just these events and courses in themselves that make the real difference in families’ lives, it’s the relationships that deepen as a result and enable us to provide the one-to-one support for the parents and young people that helps them thrive in the face of any disadvantages.