The Centre’s work takes place in the Church Flat of St Mary’s Episcopal Church. Some 17 volunteers from St Mary’s, local churches and the community facilitate the Hamilton Contact Centre each Saturday. This enables children to meet their non-resident parent in safe and neutral surroundings. The Contact Centre team is led by Margo Yates and works closely with Relationships Scotland and Family Support Partnership Lanarkshire.
What is a contact centre?
At the Hamilton Child Contact Centre, we provide a neutral meeting place for children to meet with their non-residential parent. We operate from a flat about St Mary’s Church, and provide a home from home setting, in a peaceful and private location. The Centre can be used exclusively during a session for one family at a time to suit the needs of the family.
What type of contact do we offer?
We provide a supported service operating in the best interests of the children. We record contact start and finish times, and any factual points of note. We can provide reports at a small cost.
Who runs the Centre?
Our Centre Manager runs the service together with a large team of trained volunteers who work on a rota basis to assist with the running of the Centre. Our volunteers are from a broad spectrum of the local community and take pride in working with families. We are child focussed and provide a confidential service to all our users.
What facilities are there?
We have a large lounge area with comfortable furnishings. We also have a smaller lounge area with kitchen facilities. There is a meeting room. We have one entry/exit door and we operate a staggered contact start time so that parents do not meet.
What parents should know before visiting the Centre
We are a supported service only. We do not provide supervised contact on a listening one to one basis We do not provide reports for the court. We will however provide dates and times of all arrivals and departures. We do not negotiate, but support contact arrangements, therefore agreement must have been reached on:
- Time, length and frequency of contact
- Whether the child can be taken out of the Centre by the visitor
- Who else is allowed to visit ie. half-brothers/sisters, grandparents etc.
- Toileting arrangements
To ensure quality contact no-one other than those stated on the form will be allowed to attend. It is in everyone’s best interest to visit the Centre the week before contact is due to take place to have a meeting with the Contact Centre Manager. Please make an appointment with the Manager, through your referrer to arrange times so that parties do not have to meet.
“Our children enjoyed the home from home setting and the tranquility at the Centre. It made them settle in very quickly”
“The staff and volunteers are very friendly and willing to help. We were nervous at our first session and they made us feel at ease”