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Being a Parent Champion is “fulfilling, life affirming”

This Volunteers’ Week, one of our AFNCCF Parent Champions, Vicky Hotton, talks about why she decided to volunteer for the centre.

There’s nothing like dropping everything: career, plans, courses to take up a sudden unplanned and full time caring role for a very ill child. It shakes your world to such an extent that after a prolonged period you lose sight of your own freedom, desires and dreams.

So how do you regain that balance?  How to reengage with the world in a tentative manner, without becoming overloaded with paid employment expectations, during the early days of your young person stepping into their new educational journey?  

For me, I chose to volunteer with the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families after seeing a Facebook advert. We have a long, bumpy history of needing support from mental health services – some positive times - some less so. We live a life different from most families, but in no way unique to those who are also treading the same or a similar altered path of child development. In the past I had been asked to make formal complaints in order to improve local service development, but that’s not my preferred style. I want to be proactive and have positive thinking; addressing some of the issues from the bottom up whilst regaining my sense of self and confidence. Every cloud has a silver lining and all that....

And so, an exciting working relationship has begun… who knows where it will take us next, but it is fulfilling, life affirming and everything I hoped it would be.

Vicky Hotton is a Parent Champion at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.

Read about our current Volunteer Opportunities