Each year we have a small provision for professionals to attend Dandelion Time as part of their training. They join the therapeutic team in all aspects of our work with the children and families. It gives them a first hand opportunity to learn more about families in our community. We welcomed a Police Officer to our charity for his Placement Programme and we received feedback about his time with us, and we are very pleased he has allowed us to share this:
“I was pleased with my placement choice, as it included lots of outdoor activities which is a strong interest. I was a bit apprehensive as to what I might encounter in terms of the reception I would receive from some of the families that were going to attend. This was due to me thinking they may not appreciate someone from the Police being there if they have previously had bad experiences with the Police.
My experience was quite simply one of the best things I have ever done! I had such a good time over the week and it’s a place that I would consider volunteering for myself if I had the spare time.
Throughout my time at Dandelion, I was blown away by some extraordinary people, firstly the staff and volunteers who go out of their way to improve the lives of children and families and secondly, the families that attend the sessions who have been through some incredibly tough times.
I was made to feel very welcome at Dandelion Time, and my involvement in the sessions was encouraged. Every session was different and tailored to each child’s needs and the facilities that Dandelion have are superb.
From the moment you step through the front door at Dandelion, it is like going back in time to a fun, loving, family environment without the need for technology to entertain a child, but instead good old fashioned parenting with structured sessions which enables any child to feel a sense of importance and belonging. Activities include growing and harvesting vegetables, preparing fresh food for meals, taking care of guinea pigs, donkeys and sheep, building dens and campfires in the woods, green woodworking and clay pottery classes to name just a few.
Some of the parents and children I engaged with during the sessions had issues with simple, positive communication and lacked emotional support and encouragement. Throughout every session Dandelion encourages the parents to take part and fully engage in the interaction of the activities or play with the child, effectively bringing the parent onto the child’s level. This was so beneficial to both parent and child and resulted in many magical moments. There were a couple of times during my placement that I found were a bit hard hitting emotionally, based on the circumstances of why the families were there and to see the benefits of the therapy by the end of each session.
My placement was of great benefit. It enabled me to see a different side to families who were thankfully receiving help following a traumatic time in their lives.
As a Police Officer it is common to attend calls whereby we deal with a situation in front of us and do our best to eliminate an immediate threat to children and parents, however, the after effects a family have to go through is something we don’t often see or get the chance to provide further support for.
It was wonderful to see a charity providing this level of care to these families. As a parent myself, I now see how much I take for granted the way I parent my own children. I was fortunate enough in my childhood to come from a very loving family, who took the time to take me out to the woods and do similar activities to those at Dandelion Time. This is something I have passed on to my children naturally as its all I have ever known. These are what I call simple, fun things to do with your children that do not cost a penny but mean more to the children than anything money can buy, and yet for some parents this does not happen.
Dandelion Time are doing a great job at helping the parents. In fact, something I noticed was how some sessions wasn’t necessarily about the children at all, it was all about the parents. This is something I will take away with me and encourage whenever I have dealings with a troubled family in my Policing career.”