To make a difference
The New Beginning's mission is to work holistically with families who are known to Children’s Social Care for concerns relating to neglect; emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Parents who find themselves in this situation have most likely experienced prolonged episodes of trauma, such as physical, sexual and emotional abuse, often within the home, at some point in their lives. These traumatic events can lead to issues with mental ill health as well as drug and alcohol misuse. Our vision is to work closely with parents so that they can develop the strength, knowledge and power to become the parents they want to be and in return, teach other parents how to do the same.
LEARNING & PRACTICE
At New beginnings, we realise that many parents find being a parent difficult because of issues they may have experienced in their own childhood. This may be because they have come from a disadvantaged background or found themselves in a situation where they have faced a number of different social, emotional, environmental and health related challenges. Collectively, these factors can affect parents' ability to provide what social care services may refer to as: ‘good enough care’. The aim of this project is to break that cycle by working with parents and their children for a period of six months. During, the first six months parents will attend an intense course designed to help them recognise who they are, understand why they parent in the way that they do and develop new skills which can help them progress and move forwards. At the end of the programme, parents have the opportunity to become teachers. They will feedback on their learning, their prior experiences and their newly acquired knowledge by becoming peers and mentors to the newcomers who join the project.
When families first join the project they will be assigned a key worker who will provide them with support throughout the duration of the programme. Families will be part of a safe and supportive, learning environment. However, their involvement is entirely voluntary and if they wish to withdraw they may do so at any point. In addition to the support they receive from their key worker and other practitioners, families will also have the opportunity to develop connections with other families. We have learned that when families are part of a peer support network, parents are less likely to feel isolated and stigmatised and more likely to learn and engage with their children and other professionals.
Making positive changes
At New Beginnings, helping people turn their lives around and keeping families together is at the forefront of what we do. Our programme has been designed to enable families to reach their goals and fulfill their potential. This site provides information about the impact we have and explains what we do to bring about positive change.
FROM IDEA TO REALITY: THE EVOLUTION OF NEW BEGINNINGS
New Beginnings is a concept which has been inspired by the maternal commons work of sociologist Imogen Tyler (2013a; 2013b) and the practice of a Flemish organisation called 'Stobbe'.
In relational activism, maternal commons can be understood as providing a common space for women to come together, share words, deeds and accomplish transformational beginnings (Tyler, 2013a) or materialise the hidden but constitutive grounds of biopolitical protest (Tyler, 2013b). As Tyler and Baraitser (2013: 6) contend, from birth onwards we are fundamentally dependant on others for our life story and hence our changing understanding of ‘who’ we ‘are’. The maternal commons provides a space for mothers, to come together and share experiences with one another and challenge the dominant narrative in order for transformational beginnings to occur.
The History of Stobbe
Stobbe means the stump of a tree and signifies ‘new beginning’ for families. It opened in 1990 and was originally a homeless hostel for women with one or more children and for women who were fleeing from domestic violence. Stobbe was aware that there were often issues between the mother and their children who were staying at the centre and these could not be resolved by working with the parents alone. In 1998, they developed an agreement with families who came to Stobbe, one which focused on working with children and their parents. The support included financial support; finding a home and all other child in need issues. However, they mainly focused on relationships between the mother and the child. They also realised that if there was a father present who was living with the family, or having a relationship with the child, then he should be able to join them so that Stobbe could work holistically with the family as a unit. Stobbe is driven by the belief that parents and children need to be together to learn how to function well as a family. Stobbe is not driven by performance indicators or cost-effective measures. It is part of a social welfare ideology which believes that everyone who wants a chance of turning things around should be given one.