Based in Essex, Parents 1st has over 25 years’ award winning expertise in designing, developing, implementing and evaluating high quality early years volunteering.
They are a social enterprise with an excellent reputation for delivering high-quality peer support during pregnancy, birth and the early months. However, despite providing effective evidence-based support that changes the lives of mothers, fathers and babies; their programmes are often under-valued by commissioners, funders and statutory providers – limiting opportunities to replicate their model elsewhere and sustain funding streams.
To achieve their mission whereby more parents and more babies are benefitting from peer support, we were invited to facilitate a number of workshops with the Parents 1st board members. The first 'theory of change' workshop (Feb 18) was to explore the viability of an open source model as a means for Parents 1st to increase the reach and impact of their organisation. The output of this workshop contributed to Parents 1st being awarded a sizable grant to develop a unique open access platform.
Following this success, the second workshop (Oct 18) was to define the sustainability of an open source strategy and platform. This led to creation of a detailed online strategy and brief for an 'open access' platform.
We were then invited to bid for this project through competitive tender. Despite initially turning this opportunity down, the strength and quality of their vision persuaded us to change our mind. In January 2019, we were invited to create this new platform. This will be launched in September 2019.
The new platform will change forever the way Parents 1st do things – their processes and resources will empower others to do what they currently implement themselves. They will be providing a replicable model that is easy for other organisations and practitioners to adopt and deliver – for free (underpinned by a blended revenue model). They will also serve as a knowledge hub for research and development, sharing their knowledge and allowing the community to contribute to the shaping of new ideas.