Engaging and building relationships with new families

As a Link Worker, building and maintaining relationships with parents and carers is key to the success of the programme. One of West London Zone’s values is ‘collaborative’, and for me that means working collaboratively with parents and carers to ensure they are part of their child’s WLZ journey, and making sure I am sharing vital knowledge and context with parents, teachers, school support staff and our Delivery Partners.

  • We're working with 1338 young people and their families this year
  • 993 young people started the programme in September 2021

In September, I started my role as a Link Worker in a school which is new to the WLZ programme. The first step for me was getting to know the families of the young people identified for the programme. These getting to know you sessions often happen in person at the school gates, and are a great opportunity to meet parents and gain a better understanding of the family and young person. They have helped me to establish the best and most convenient way to communicate going forward too. As part of my induction into the role I was aware how important it is to have a relaxed and flexible approach, and to ensure that engagements fit around families.

These first meetings are also a chance to explain the programme in more detail. Last year, WLZ produced new parent packs: a physical leaflet explaining the programme which links to a video. These are so useful for explaining how the WLZ programme works and I was able to give these to parents that spoke English, Arabic, and Somali. They have so far been produced in 6 different languages, identified as the top languages spoken by families across the four boroughs we work in.

So far as a Link Worker I have learned:

  • A picture is worth a thousand words and sending parents pictures of their children taking part in various activities is extremely well received.
  • Sending children home with motivational stickers or giving a thumbs up at home time also lets them know how their child is doing.
  • The children are surprised when I tell them I have their parents telephone number but it is great as it further demonstrates the relationship that the Link Worker has with the child and family.

“Wow, big thank you for the pictures, I really appreciate you sending me this!” mother of child on programme

Juanita Moore, Link Worker

together, every child and young person can flourish.