You might have seen the sign in our Arch, or in an automated email reply or Facebook messenger response talking about how Parenting North East is volunteer led, but not really grasped what that means.
In simple terms, no-one is paid for the day to day work of running Parenting North East. We all give our time willingly and joyfully to try make your parenting journey that little bit easier.
Some of our volunteers volunteer and hour or 2 a month running a community session, some give up a day a week to help us keep the Arch open for you to come visit, others work nearly full time managing the finances and admin that are required keeping a small social enterprise running.
It does mean that sometimes we just can’t do everything, hence our recent decision to make Fridays appointment only as we don’t have a qualified volunteer able to be there every Friday. We do our best, though, and try to communicate when changes are made.
You may have noticed my phrase “qualified volunteer”. We have volunteers that just come and help with the skills they have to share, but most are qualified in the safe use of slings either as peer supporters or consultants. It costs £90 to train a peer supporter and £300 to train a consultant and they each have coursework and follow up to do. Others have chosen to do additional peer support qualifications, such as breastfeeding peer support or birth and beyond peer support.
All our volunteers are wanting to help out new parents, having struggled in someway themselves, whether with loneliness, a challenging newborn, depression etc. We just want to help you along the way and share what we have learnt.
Mostly, we LOVE what we do. The feeling when a parent goes away feeling listened to, with a sling that fits or reassurance that their baby is just a baby and that whatever is going on, that too will pass, is amazing. We wouldn’t do it otherwise.
We don’t enjoy it so much when customers are rude to our volunteers, or don’t return their hires on time. We get it, being a new parent is overwhelming and things sometimes get forgotten, we’ve all been there remember. But, please be courteous, please return your sling and if you are having trouble, drop us an email, Facebook message or phone call, we can usually sort it. It wastes huge amounts of our volunteers time chasing late slings.
We also don’t enjoy money being tight – it is one of the aspects of running a small not-for-profit. It costs over £1000 per month just to open our doors. So prompt payment of any outstanding fees is great, and don’t google if you can get a sling cheaper elsewhere in front of us, and maybe chuck a donation in the bucket if you’ve had help but not hired.
We love our customers, and we want to continue providing parenting support. See you soon.
How you can help for free:
- Like, comment or share our Facebook posts
- Tell your friends about us
- Offer to volunteer – babies and toddlers are welcome to come along with you and training will be given
- Be nice to our volunteers!
If you have some spare cash:
- Think about making a donation
- Shop through our Easyfundraising portal
- Buy a gift voucher for a friend who is pregnant or has a new baby