Having settled into her new role as the NSPCC West London Service Centre manager, Swan House, Swan Road, Hanworth, getwestlondon caught up with Alison Stewart Ross to talk about taking on the new role, success stories, volunteering opportunities and upcoming events including the centre's second anniversary in October.
How long have you worked at the NSPCC?
Since January 9, 2009, and started my new role here at the West London Service Centre on May 22, this year.
What did you do previously?
I qualified as a social worker in 1996, worked with Hillingdon social services, Harrow social services and with a fostering agency for five years before joining the NSPCC.
You have settled into a new role, how are you finding it so far?
I have recently taken over as service centre manager for Luton and West London; there are so many different facets to the job which makes it interesting and fun.
You learn a lot about human nature and I feel I have become a multitasking expert managing two centres.
This can also be a challenge sometimes having to be two places at one time.
What have been the most interesting success stories you have come across at the NSPCC west London service centre?
One thing that really stands out as a success was a case involving one of our CSPs (children’s services practitioners).
A baby was being taken away from the mother and care proceedings had started.
One of our team got involved and started to support and help the family by enrolling them in the Safe Care programme.
The mother had no understanding of British social services and did not know how to ask for help, as she doesn’t speak the language either.
The CSP and the translator developed a relationship based on trust with the family and through this process not only helped them translate a language but also their emotions and the case was subsequently dropped and the baby remained with the parents.
The Taking Care programme was in the doldrums with no one signing up for it.
Our team leader, Anna Pappin took over the programme and built a relationship with the local authority.
They saw her enthusiasm and effort and decided to adopt it, with social workers taking it on immediately.
Thanks to her efforts the numbers went up and now the programme is full with more people wanting to join.
Which services are proving to be the most popular with families in Hounslow and surrounding boroughs?
Safe Care, a service that help parents give children five and under the high level of care and attention they need, is very popular with referrals from social workers and health workers.
Our Baby Steps programme, for pregnant women, and our and toddler group which is for anyone with a toddler are also very popular and proving to be a success.
How do you involve the local community?
We have open days that anyone can attend; we also run a toddler group for anyone in the community with a toddler.
I attended a local professionals group, chaired by a local school deputy head, to share local information about resources and occasionally specific children; I was also the chair of the Children’s Centre Advisory Board before passing that on to one of our team managers.
I currently sit on the Hounslow Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).
At the centre we run an open door policy where anyone can drop in for a chat and there are rooms for victim support and Straight Talking which helps us further contribute to the local community.
What opportunities are available to people in Hounslow?
We are currently looking for volunteer drivers for our FEDUP (Family Environment: Drug Using Parents) children, one afternoon a week for 10 weeks.
The child needs to be collected, brought to the centre and then dropped home afterwards.
If anyone in the Hanworth/Staines area would like to volunteer for this please get in touch with the NSPCC West London centre at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0208 755 7150.
They would need to have their own car, in road worthy condition, and be able to commit for the whole 10 weeks.
A fun day is the next event coming up for past and current FEDUP (Family Environment: Drug Using Parents) children and it takes place between 11am and 1pm on August 29.
A toddler party will include fun activities, snacks and juices from 9.30am to 11.30am on September 10 at the West London Centre.
The NSPCC will mark its second birthday with an autumn fete packed with activities for children and stalls, raising money to fund new tables for rooms at the west London centre. The event will be held at Crane Park children's centre between 3.30pm and 5.30pm on October 3.
Anyone is welcome to attend. You do not have to be a user of any our services.