Forest of Dean Children's Opportunity Centre | Family Services
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Family Services


Examples of some of the support available are:

  • Home visiting, either on a regular basis or as and when a family requests it. Some families just feel the need for somebody to talk things through with, who can listen to any concerns or issues they may have regarding their child’s needs and answer questions they may have. For some families it may be that they do not want to access groups or services within the Centre at that particular time, or they may be accessing services elsewhere. This does not matter, because to receive home visits as a way of support only requires the family/child to be living within the Forest of Dean area. You do not have to be attending groups or activities within the Centre itself.
  • Help to fill out forms such as Disability Living Allowance etc.
  • Inform families of what other services are available within their local area and county.
  • Refer (with family’s permission) family’s/children onto other services that may be beneficial to them.
  • Advice on issues regarding their child’s behaviour.
  • Ideas on activities they can do within the home to help encourage their child’s development.
  • Help in obtaining grants/funding for specific items relating to their child’s needs. This may be toys, equipment, clothing, household goods etc.
  • Accompanying families on visits, as a source of support, to schools, nurseries, review meetings etc.



Family worker profile

Our family worker, Claire Leighton has extensive knowledge and completed training on a wide range of topics including Sleep Practitioner training, is an accredited trainer on Positive behaviour management and is an accredited baby massage instructor. Claire has previously worked as a children’s learning disability nurse, so has a wealth of experience that is valuable in her role as the Centre’s family worker.


Sleep Problems?

As a qualified Sleep Practitioner Claire runs regular sleep workshops, both within the centre and other venues throughout the Forest of Dean depending on the need at that time and she also offers sleep advice within the home. We understand how difficult life can be when your child has a sleep issue and our aim is to support families to get a better night’s sleep by offering workshops, clinics and written materials. We use a behavioural approach to sleep and work in partnership with families, we know that you are the expert on your child. The aim of this support is to develop your understanding of the science of sleep and why potential sleep issues may occur. You will explore reasons why children may not sleep, how to keep sleep diaries, what happens to our bodies when we are sleeping as well as practical strategies to take away and implement at home.


Parent’s comments before the sleep workshop

“It’s so lonely”  – “I feel isolated” – “I’m mentally exhausted” – “So Tired”


Parents comments after the sleep workshop

“I don’t dread bedtime any more”

“Yes it’s been hard, no I don’t think I have cracked it (but a small amount of me is hoping I have) and yes I am so proud of them and their efforts”

“After 10yrs of struggle on and off, more on for the last 5 years and I am finally beginning to enjoy my children and have a better relationship, this would not have been possible without your help and I am forever grateful for all you have done and all the support you give”.

“I hope more parents learn about the course and understand that giving up is not the answer. Had I not have cried out for help I would not be where I am now. I used to feel that I was failing as a mum, due to being tired and irritable, now being a mum is better than it has ever been.”

“Thank you for a great course, I’ve come away feeling a lot more positive and feel that I’ve learnt so much from it.”

“Lot’s of helpful advice” – “Great being in a group setting” –  “knowing that you’re not on your own”


Massage Group

Claire also runs massage groups, either within the Centre or this can be arranged to be done within the home. There is a very small charge for this to cover the cost of the massage oil and the information leaflets you will take away with you.

The Benefits

¨ Massage improves relaxation, encouraging longer sleep duration for infants

¨Massage helps to relieve the effects of colic, teething, constipation and wind.

¨Massage stimulates all of a baby’s major systems: co-ordination, respiration, digestion, learning ability and language development.

¨ Massage helps strengthen the bond between parents and child

Massage relaxes both parent and child.


Bonding and attachment are key elements in baby/infant massage.  During the massage strokes your child will receive lots of interaction from you and vice versa.

We will also sing songs and rhymes together to keep your child engaged in the massage and to help them to develop their communication skills.

This will help parent/carer and child tune in to each other, learning to read each others cues.


Toilet Troubles

Some families have concerns or questions regarding potty training, bed wetting, or other continence issues. Our family worker can offer advice and give information on services that are able to support. Workshops are run a couple of times throughout the year where families can come along and meet others that are experiencing the same difficulties.


Special Fun Time

Our family worker also runs our weekly Special Fun Time group which is for parents and their child with a special need from birth to Three. Please click onto our Special Fun Time group to find out more about it.




If you need advice or support from our family worker please email: or phone the Centre on 01594 837552 and ask to speak with Claire Leighton.