Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Parents awarded by ‘secret millionaire’ for improving parenting skills

Caption: Terry George (centre) with the Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities graduates and staff

Nine parents, some with learning difficulties, who completed an intensive parenting course were rewarded for their commitment by a visit from ‘secret millionaire’ Terry George.

Leeds nightclub tycoon Terry, who appeared on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire programme, presented certificates to the parents who completed the Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities course at Chapel Allerton Children’s Centre.

The course was organised by a family outreach worker at the Leeds City Council-run centre, Dorrice Grundy, and was run by Beverley Thompson from the Race Equality Foundation, Emma Brown from People in Action and Kelly Broadbent - a volunteer facilitator and a parent with a learning disability.

The Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities programme offers training for parents from all backgrounds, and a course specifically for people with learning difficulties was developed in Leeds.

The course helped the parents gain confidence and life-skills to enable them to become more effective parents and to take up other opportunities that will enhance their own and their children’s lives. During the 13-week course they learnt how to deal with challenging behaviour and about setting boundaries, as well as how to play and have fun with their children and how to help them lead healthy lives.

It was not only the parents who benefited from the course, as during the 13 weeks the children were looked after in the children’s centre crèche which exposed them to new environments and helped them learn new social skills.

Family Outreach Worker Dorrice Grundy who arranged the course, said:“We are very proud of the parents who completed this course. The parents have all grown in confidence over the 13 weeks and have learnt lots of new skills they can take back to their families.

“This course is particularly good because it caters for people of all abilities. There is no reading involved and the parents work with each other and their children to put what they have learnt into practice.”

Course tutor Beverley Thompson said:
“The programme is open to parents from all backgrounds and we have made the Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities course accessible for parents with learning difficulties. As loving parents, many people with learning difficulties want to be able to give their children the care they need, whether their children live with them or with foster-parents.”

Cheryl Stephens (30) who graduated from the course said:
"I have really enjoyed this course and feel that it would benefit all parents to do this course. It looks at all the issues that face families today at home and in the community. This course has encouraged me to further my education and given a new approach to building strong relationships within my family and community.”

Toni Elmsie (24) said:
"I went on the course to be a better parent to my three young children. We enjoyed doing the homework activities together like visiting new places and doing special time. I also made new friends and am involved in other community activities now."

For more information about the Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities parenting programme in Leeds, please contact or 0113 2626273 for more information about other parenting programmes and support offered to parents in Leeds, please visit the Family Hub Directory at

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713