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 EPEC 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 have now trained our first group of local children and families services practitioners as 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, and Caroline Thoroughgood – Kindergarten Teacher and parent of five.

Go Goldfields Leadership Table is proud to be 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.

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 for 2023 will commence in February. The course consists of relaxed weekly parent led facilitated sessions. These will be held every Wednesday at the Nest from 9.30 am to 11.30am. The course  is aimed at parents and carers with children aged between 2 and 11 years of age. Interested parents or carers are encorouged to come along to an introductory morning tea at the Nest to meet the facilitators and find out more at 9.30am on Wednesday 7 Februray 2023 .

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).

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.

The NEST – a hub for parents and carers
corner of Alma and Nolan Streets, Maryborough.

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