As an intern, it was my first time attending the weekly young parents group run by St. Michael's at Brockwell Park.
After an early morning trip to Tesco to pick up ingredients to feed 20, we headed over to Brockwell Park’s One O’Clock Club. The stereotypes of young parents portrayed in the media as anti-social and disorderly swirled in my mind. One look around the children’s centre made me realise I was deceived.
There was a friendly relaxed buzz about the children’s centre. After speaking to some of the young mums, I realised how grateful they were for the service. One of the young mums explained to me that she just moved to Lambeth from east London with her baby girl. “I come here because it’s nice to be around parents in the same position as me and it’s an easy way to meet new people.” There was a real sense of friendship between the parents.
After a nutritious meal of shepard’s pie and salad, the children went off to play as the parents and I attended their weekly session. The younger children enjoyed the sensory room and the elder children explored the garden and played with toys.
This week’s session was smoking cessation, where a representative from Guys and St Thomas’s hospital came to chat to the parents about the effects on your child of smoking, both during and after pregnancy. We all sat around with bowls of ice-cream and fruit salad and watched the presentation. Did you know that sitting in a shisha bar for 1.5 hours is the equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes? The session was completely open and relaxed, and we were encouraged to ask any questions without being judged.
It was rewarding to see first-hand the work that the outreach team do with young parents. The work that St. Michaels do for young parents is phenomenal. The relaxed atmosphere means that the parents and children felt comfortable enough to engage naturally, whilst it offers a chance for the parents to improve their parenting skills and knowledge.
Brockwell Park is a friendly and welcoming group. Being 19 myself, it was compelling to see and hear from the young parents, who are around the same age as me. If you’re a young parent in Lambeth aged 24 or under, I would strongly recommend the young parents group. For more information on the group, click here.