'I found the course extremely useful, I've loved every minute of it!' 'Enjoyed it. It was informative, helpful, insightful and motivating'. “The course has made me realise that the community in which you live... it’s really important to be aware... I’ve never really felt part of my community. It’s going to be really good to work alongside like-minded people and to gradually be part of the change... that anything is possible.”

Me and My Community Course students

What's the training like?

The first step on the journey to becoming a Parents 1st Volunteer is attending the four week Taster Course. Please read the ‘Is it for me?’ section on the website for more information about this. 

After the taster course, you will have a one to one mentoring session and agree your next steps. You will then be expected to participate in the initial training programme, this provides the skills and knowledge needed to start supporting expectant parents through pregnancy, birth and the early postnatal period. It is designed for all Parents 1st volunteers – Pregnancy Pals, Birth Buddies and Practical Parent Pals.  It lasts for approximately 12 sessions and is normally run on a weekly basis. Some sessions are 3 to 4 hours whilst others are all day. Times of training sessions vary to suit the needs of each group (weekdays, evenings and sometimes weekends).

We build on the skills and knowledge that you will have gained during the taster course. Whilst it is a fun and interesting programme, it is a comprehensive training package to ensure that you have the knowledge, attitude and skills to undertake your role as a volunteer Pregnancy Pal, Birth Buddy or Practical Parent Pal.

A variety of topics are covered (depending on the role you have chosen), including: 

  • Principles and values that underpin the role
  • The importance of building strong and trusting relationships with parents and parents-to-be
  • Giving valuable support that leaves each parent feeling confident
  • Keeping healthy during pregnancy
  • Getting ready for the new arrival e.g. birth plan
  • Different birth positions and pain relief available
  • Breastfeeding support skills
  • Understanding the postnatal role
  • The pros and cons, highs and lows of offering support
  • Recognising risks and feeling supported
  • Ensuring parents are benefiting

Having completed the initial training, monthly sessions continue as you go about supporting expectant parents.

Volunteers have the opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification (for free): the City & Guilds Level 3 Award in ‘Work with Parents’.