Let’s Stick Together

We received the following Press Release in relation to National Parenting Week, but the initiative described, run by Care for the Family, clearly deserves to be a long-term programme.A national initiative to strengthen family relationships and reduce divorce and separation rates among first-time parents is being launched by leading family charity Care for the Family, in association with Bristol Community Family Trust (BCFT). Let’s Stick Together will be the UK’s first high-access, low-cost national programme of preventative relationship education. It aims to reduce the number of family breakdowns by reaching both married and non-married parents in the early years of family life when 50% of breakdowns occur.
Let’s Stick Together will use one-hour, peer-led sessions to teach key relationship-building principles to new parents. Accessible to all socio-economic classes, the programme will be delivered to participants free of charge initially via postnatal clinics, using a national network of trained volunteers. The programme will cost an average of £50 per participant, in contrast to a bill for family breakdown of at least £5,200 per parent. A pilot programme will run in the Bristol, Bedford and Birmingham regions, funded by a government grant; it is hoped that subsequent funding will enable Let’s Stick Together sessions to be rolled out across the whole of the UK.
“More than 50% of parents who separate do so within three years of having a baby,” says Mark Molden, Chief Executive of Care for the Family. “There’s no doubt that the early years of family life are extremely demanding for all parents, both physically and emotionally, which is why we believe that preventative relationship education for new parents can be instrumental in helping to create strong, stable families in which both adults and children thrive. Care for the Family is committed to growing Let’s Stick Together into a cost-effective, sustainable programme that becomes a natural and universal element of postnatal provision.”
Programme content for Let’s Stick Together is underpinned by current research into three evidence-based concepts: bad habits to avoid; good habits to build; friendship and involvement. “Let’s Stick Together takes some of the mystery out of how relationships work. The basic principles of relationships are fairly straightforward: successful couples have more good habits and fewer bad habits,” says Harry Benson, Director of BCFT. “Many parents find the ideas quite a revelation. For others, they are things that they already know. But sometimes the best common sense only becomes obvious once it has been explained.”
The concept has already been proven to work effectively at a local level by BCFT who currently reach 30% of first-time mums in Bristol. Care for the Family’s expertise in training, managing and resourcing volunteers across the UK on a range of family initiatives will facilitate national expansion of this model – for example, its parent and toddler network reaches approximately 90,000 families and over 4,000 people are linked with Care for the Family befriending networks.
Parents who attend Let’s Stick Together will be given take-home resources, which will encourage them to seek on-going relationship or parenting education and support throughout their lives, thereby further reducing the risk of family breakdown.

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