EPEC Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities

In mid-2021, Go Goldfields undertook a comprehensive Let’s Talk About Parenting! community engagement program to improve our understanding of the Central Goldfields community experience and views of raising children, and what could make it easier. This valuable community contribution is directly informing our five Every Child, Every Chance priorities.

Almost 200 parents and carers participated in a comprehensive parenting conversations.  88% of respondent Parents selected a ‘Friend-to-friend (otherwise known as peer-to-peer) parenting program’ as their first choice from a list of potential ECEC program offerings – if they were free and easy to access. So that’s what we are bringing to the Shire!

Introducing Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities (EPEC). Developed and tested by the UK Centre for Parent and Child Support, EPEC encompasses the best of current theoretical and practical knowledge and provides an alternative model to practitioner-led parenting interventions. Go Goldfields is excited to enable the Central Goldfields to be the next Australian ECEP site in partnership with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) who will support us to implement and sustain EPEC and deliver training to the EPEC Practitioner Facilitators.

EPEC is not just another parenting program facilitated by professionals alone. This program brings practitioners and parents together as partners in a culture of shared practice. The dynamic of local parents working within the system, alongside practitioners, spans the boundary between services and families disengaged from the system.

“I didn’t even finish grade nine you know, so I didn’t feel that…well I just felt out of my league, like I wasn’t confident enough to you know…, you see other facilitators … and they so know what they are talking about and know what they’re doing and I just never thought that would be me”. Michelle, Parent Facilitator 

Watch the video here

The active involvement of Parent Facilitators in EPEC gives credibility to the system in the eyes of families that have previously found services difficult to access. This model allows for learnings and responsibilities to be carried forward, shared and branch out into our broader community. This will ultimately shift parenting behaviours, children’s futures and social vitality throughout the Shire.

We are now training our first group of local children and families services practitioners to become EPEC Practitioner Facilitators.

The first group of trainee facilitators includes: Amy Stobie – Salvation Army Officer Maryborough and parent of three, Kristen Lummis – Early Parenting Practitioner with Maternal Child Health and parent of two, Caroline Thoroughgood – Kindergarten Teacher and parent of five, Robyn Pryor – Program Coordinator with Go Goldfields and foster carer.

“I am very proud that we are able to bring this innovative, community building opportunity to Central Goldfields and looking forward to welcoming lots of parents and potential facilitators into the program as it grows and grows” offered Taren Gill, Chair of Go Goldfields Leadership Table.

The EPEC program is unique in that it is delivered by parents for parents.  The program begins with a small group of local people already working with families to undertake training to become EPEC facilitators.  They then run the Being a Parent (BAP) course for local parents.

Once parents complete the BAP course there is an opportunity for parents to undertake extra training to become paid EPEC facilitators themselves and go forward to deliver the BAP training to a new group of parents, then this cycle repeats – creating an ever-growing ripple effect of training, support and connection for local Mums, Dads and carers.

The first ‘Being a Parent’ (BAP) course will commence in May 2022 and will be run from GGHQ in Maryborough. The course comprises of 2 hours per week over 8 weeks with childcare and catering provided.  Interested parents or carers with children aged 2 to 11 can call Go Goldfields on 0412 017 100 or drop into the GGHQ at the old Visitor Information Centre from Tuesday to Thursday between 10am and 3pm.

“Put simply, EPEC works a bit like a Tupperware model – but instead of selling lots of plastic containers, we are growing the confidence and connection of local parents. The program has been hugely successful throughout the UK and in Tasmania and we are excited to be the first site in Victoria to deploy the program” she continues.

“Our work in Tasmania has shown that this program can make a real difference in the lives of parents through helping them develop and discover more about themselves and strategies they can use to support their families from people just like themselves” agrees Dr Paul Prichard, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE VERSION of our EPEC Information for Practitioner Facilitators Booklet Here.

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Drop into our Go Goldfields HQ
and chat with our friendly staff and collaborators.
At the corner of Alma and Nolan Streets, Maryborough, Vic (next to the library).
Open Tuesdays to Thursdays 10am – 3pm*
(*Except during pandemic restricted times)

More information…

Go Goldfields Backbone staff and ECEC Priority Partnership members will co-design a ‘Change Plan’ with members of our community that will advance the ECEC aspirations to improve outcomes for children aged 0-8 years.

Go Goldfields places great value on incorporating the ideas and experiences of all citizens in the Central Goldfields region into the engagement. We invite everyone to play an important role in co-designing this transformative community effort.

Our comprehensive Let’s Talk About Parenting! community engagement program took place over the middle on 2021 to inform the Change Plan. The engagement included interviews, chats, round table discussions, a children’s art project and a parenting journey survey.

Our Research & Community Conversations Report – 2021
will be released in the coming months.

The NEST parents group is held in our Go Goldfields HQ,
Nurture & Learning Room, (next to the library) on the corner of Alma and Nolan Streets, Maryborough.
Wednesdays 10am – 1pm (except during Covid-Restricted times)

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