Most older parents discover that life changes and often gets a little easier once their children grow up. But surviving those early years can be tough and the Swansea Community Cottage reckons a lot of young parents need a hand. That’s just what they offered last year with support from the John Wallis Foundation.

The Cottage developed Life After Nappies; three 20-week long programs providing practical support and information for young parents. The programs also helped young people explore career and work opportunities.

Presentation1

The first 20-week life skills parent group taught nutrition, healthy choices both mentally and physically, cooking on a budget, life options including studying, employment and further training. The second program, facilitated by Hunter TAFE, earned participants a Certificate Two in Community Services.

An early intervention/development group was also offered as an extension of the Cottage’s supported playgroup. It featured guest speakers and examined the link between study options and learning how to become an adult learner. In the final 10 weeks of the program a speech pathologists facilitated the group and offered one on one assessments for the participants’ children.

Program coordinator Annie Sinclair said the programs motivated some participants to further their studies. One participant has enrolled to study nursing and two have gone on to do Community Services Certificate 3 at TAFE.

One participant, Charmaine, is 19 and has two sons aged three and one. “This program has opened up learning options and reignited a passion to learn. I was a bit lost before this and had fallen into the parent trap of thinking my sole purpose was to look after everyone else’,” she said.