After ten years leading our young parents project it has been hard to say goodbye to Sarah Childs. But, we’re delighted to welcome Grace Barnett to the Rendezvous and whilst she certainly has big shoes to fill with Sarah’s help and an extended handover period she’s found her feet quickly and already feels like one of the team.
Sarah has led the development of our young parents’ groups (including the weekly sessions in the Cheap Street Church Hall on Wednesday) and successfully launched the Gillingham project in 2019. She introduced home visits for the first time which were a real game-changer for us. With more and more young parents struggling with anxiety and fearful of leaving the house, home visits are often the first point of contact for young parents who just would not be able to attend group without the additional support.
Sarah’s nursing background was key to building strong and positive relationships with the local health visitor teams in both towns. They have really valued the support she has given and she has shown just how successful collaborative working can be when it’s done with mutual respect, trust and a good sense of humour.
But it’s not just young mums whose lives Sarah has helped to change. Through drop in sessions and one to one appointments she has supported many 13-25-year-olds with anxiety, eating disorders, sexual health and contraception advice, young offenders and also the staff team, our volunteers, and those friends and supporters in the community who remain loyal and committed to the project and to the Rendezvous.
Sarah has been an amazing team-player, a real emotional support to everyone else, a fantastic ‘tidier-upper’, our go-to person for informal health advice and over the last two years she became our ‘Captain Covid’ keeping us on the straight and narrow with the ever-changing Covid-19 restrictions. (we don’t think that’s a role she’s sorry to be leaving behind!)
We have known that Sarah was planning to leave for a long time and this has meant that we have been able to plan for her departure and take the time to get the right person in post and we are delighted to have found that person in Grace.
Grace, who lives in Sherborne, has experience as a family worker in Somerset and administrative experience from the Yeatman Hospital so brings lots of skills and knowledge with her.
We’re looking forward to seeing how the project develops from here. Because of the lack of prenatal support for pregnant women, the health visitors are keen to get young parents into the group before they have had their babies and by working together we know this is something that we can help them achieve – so it’s over to Grace now!
And as for Sarah? She’s planning to catch her breath, put her feet up for a bit, focus on the numerous creative projects she has on the go and as the world returns to normal perhaps do a bit more travelling.