My first contact with The Winch was one of the ‘Connecting Parents’ sessions that was nearly a year and a half ago.
At the time I was in emergency accommodation. The coordinator of Homestart got in contact with Page (at) The Winch who introduced me to a session at Belsize Community Library. We did a mood board about our expectations for the future. Meeting Page for the first time I was like wow, she’s got such a warm smile and a lovely attitude and I was instantly captured by her kindness. I was a little intimidated because I didn’t know anybody else but Page encouraged me to keep coming.
Page told me about a Wednesday session called ‘Being a Parent’ at The Winch done in partnership with the Anna Freud Centre. At the beginning I wasn’t sure whether to attend or not, I was a bit intimidated because my experience was really bad and I didn’t really trust anybody. I was really reluctant to join these kinds of activities because I didn’t want to start whining and make everything even more kind of sad but I completely changed my views around this. The group was really powerful because it let me share my own experience and I developed from someone taking from this group to wanting to give something back. I saw the effect that a conversation over coffee with supportive people can have for someone in a bad place and I wanted to give that to someone who needs that experience like I did.
“The group was really powerful because it let me share my own experience and I developed from someone taking from this group to wanting to give something back.”
Through the group we also realised we were all scattered around Swiss Cottage and now we had a way of coming together in a protected safe environment where we could share what was going on. It also meant outside of sessions we had a group of friends we could rely on in our local area.
Through ‘Being a Parent’ I also learnt a lot. In terms of parenting skills we shared a lot of knowledge, a lot of personal direct experience that I have to put in practice myself. It was very much practical rather than theoretical and they taught us many skills like how to manage stress, tantrums and potty training.
“As a parent, The Winch gave me the chance to meet with other parents when I was feeling isolated, which gave me a way of coping with the past.”
Engaging with Page and The Winch has been great for my son because he’s still very little, he just turned three so whatever I feel he feels, he’s still very much a sponge but when I saw him playing with the other children, I finally saw that he’d started building his own identity. He started feeling connected as well not just with mum but with other children, definitely I saw him more present to himself let’s say.
I hope that my son will continue to attend The Winch during Primary School and even though our parent group has finished we all continue to meet outside of the Winch and support one another. As a parent, The Winch gave me the chance to meet with other parents when I was feeling isolated, which gave me a way of coping with the past.