This month, we acknowledge Tammy Vickers for her initiative, courage and passion for seeing change in her community. Read her story below…
My Name is Tammy Vickers. I am the Associate Pastor at Restore Church in Boston, Lincolnshire. We are a church with a real heart for the community and a particular vision to support our local schools.
Three years ago, we were approached by Boston St Nicholas C of E Primary School and asked to provide support through assemblies and visits to the school. St Nicholas is in an area of deprivation in Boston where many families are struggling; in fact, every family deals with low income and low support. Over time our relationship with the school has grown and we are constantly looking for ways to support and bless the staff, children and their families as much as possible.
When we came across Kids Matter, we loved the idea that we could facilitate some really practical conversations and build relationships where parents could be empowered to support each other, recognise the skills they have but also identify areas they need help with. Our hope was that this would enable a context where we could work together to find solutions and offer support to parents. We posed the idea to the school, and St Nicholas jumped into partnership with us to deliver Kids Matter’s programme (using the school as a base).
I worked very closely with the Learning Mentor at St Nicholas, who immediately identified families she knew would benefit from Kids Matter. We are now in the middle of running our first programme—meeting in the school training suite on site straight after morning drop off.
This all sounds so smooth and simple! To be honest, it has been a really interesting journey. The training was off-the-hook brilliant, support from my coach was (and is) amazing; the trickiest issue to tackle so far has been attendance. Working with a variety of individuals is always interesting and facing challenges such as Covid-19, health issues and other genuine life events has meant a bit of a stop-and-start continual catch-up rhythm. The individuals who are attending are engaging really well but it has been hard to maintain momentum with this particular group.
Being a natural ‘fixer’ the biggest learning curve I am still tackling is to not jump in with solutions and advice. However, when I step back and allow the parents to discuss the topics themselves it has been encouraging to see them find solutions and encouragement from one another. I was concerned that the inconsistency in attendance was affecting the effectiveness of the programme but I have been so encouraged by some of the conversations with the parents, especially with regard to them feeling less isolated and being able to recognise that they are not the only ones who are struggling and can learn from others.
Kids Matter is such a gift for us to offer the school and I am looking forward to learning more, becoming more confident with the material and seeing families in my local area flourish. I would love to grow my team and see this being made available to the whole academy trust and other local schools. I love working in partnership with schools that already have relationship with the parents and are able to identify those who would benefit most from this programme.