Cover image from the National Child Mortality Database Programme Thematic Report

Parent Champion project praised

A Liverpool City Council-led project has been praised as an example of best practice in a national report.

The National Child Mortality Database Programme Thematic Report, published earlier this month, is the first report that analyses all sudden and unexpected deaths of children and young people, from birth up to their 18th birthday, and covers the years 2019 to 2021.

The Parent Champion in the Community Project was developed in Liverpool to provide peer support for families in deprived areas of the city where babies are most at risk of having severe bronchiolitis. The condition can be exacerbated by poor antenatal health, maternal smoking, and low breastfeeding rates. Bronchiolitis rates in Liverpool are twice the national average.

The project was developed by Liverpool City Council’s children’s centres team working in partnership with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

The six-month project, from October 2021 until March 2022, saw a toolkit developed for parents as well as training for parent champions so they could support other parents to access advice about housing, benefits and food insecurity and train them to manage bronchiolitis.

The city’s children’s centres were used in the project as well as other childcare providers.

The project was evaluated by Edge Hill University:

“The Parent Champion project has, through evaluation, been shown to be a viable means of delivering high quality information and awareness about bronchiolitis and related factors to parents who otherwise would not have this information. There is also evidence, direct from the parents, that they have used and shared this information and that their behaviour and decision-making have been positively informed and shaped by what they have learned.”

“Qualitative evidence shows that Parent Champions working in these very deprived communities deliver effective health-related peer support to parents not only because of their communication skills and personal characteristics but also because they have similar life experiences to the parents; this means parents feel that they can be open with and trust the Parent Champions.”

Liverpool Waterfront