On Friday 14th June women and their children from different mum and baby groups across Bradford came together for a special Refugee Week link-up. The Linking Network invited women from Refugee New Beginnings, Bradford Cathedral and NCT mum and baby groups across the Bradford District to come together to share lunch and an afternoon of singing, bubbles and playing. These groups have not met before and would not otherwise be likely to meet each other.
Those who attended enjoyed getting to know each other and seeing their children having fun with new friends. One refugee mum originally from Iraq said, ‘It’s good to meet other families and for our children to meet each other, it’s been a fun day’. A mum from Bradford shared ‘I’ve never met a refugee before but at the end of the day we’re all just mums wanting the best for our kids so it’s been nice to meet people’.
At The Linking Network we are always interested in exploring new ways of connecting people from different communities and have been thinking a lot about what parent linking can look like. Arranging this event took a flyer, a skilled early years singing practitioner, a bubble machine, a lovely space in the District that was new to all the groups and good food that was suitable for everyone. and some funding that TLN sourced. Organising the #parentlinking event involved lots of collaborative conversations, sourcing some funding for food, room hire and the singing leader’s costs plus the odd email! There was a willingness and openness to the idea from all sides. All the group leaders were behind it and many more parents and toddlers attended than we expected. It felt like a very positive thing to do that we really recommend to others. There was a real sense from everybody who attended that this was something they would like to do again and that it was a joy to meet. For more detail see our website www.thelinkingnetwork.org.uk
We are grateful for the support of Pears Foundation, MHCLG, DfE and Bradford Council in our work to test new approaches to parent linking.