This month, we acknowledge Joanna Bacon, a multitasking legend who works tirelessly running multiple Kids Matter programmes in Bristol. We are in constant admiration of Joanna’s spirit and enthusiasm; here’s what she told us:
I just love running Kids Matter programmes! That moment when a parent has turned off the telly and seen a reduction in aggression in their child, or sat around a table for a meal with the whole family for the first time, having told you at the last KM session that that was an unreasonable expectation…..brilliant! Small changes, big effects, happier and more confident parents, and secure kids.
I came to facilitating parenting groups from a GP background and the trials of the extreme exhaustion of my own three small children, which at times felt like it might finish me off. I recognise the signs of this in the parents I meet, who are dealing with this time of life in far less secure circumstances than my own,and I know that a small amount of acceptance, affirmation and listening can really change everything and set them off on a new course, which has positive effects for years – even to the way their children will parent their families in the future. I love the programme materials – they are conversational, colourful, informal, searching and sharing, with goals and ideas that are achievable. I also love being based in one community – now that we are on to our fifth programme, we are experiencing keeping in contact with parents over the months in different contexts as their children grow; toddlers, church, school, community centres and just out and about but all in the same community. It’s priceless, a real treasure which allows God to work slowly and thoroughly through the every day lives we lead and what we are able to manage as volunteers.
I work with the wonderful Trenna Blundell who is based at St Stephen’s, Southmead, whilst I am linked with the church through Redland Parish Church in another area of Bristol. We have run programmes in the church, at a local primary school, and have plans in the the pipeline with local school nurses and a children’s centre. There have been bumps along the way – recruiting for the creche is challenging, and it’s tough when people with chaotic lives just don’t turn up but we both believe in the slow, steady, relationship-centred way, and we can see God working steadily through that, which is very exciting. Be encouraged – we are doing amazing work! God bless – Joanna Bacon