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Parents for a weekend

St. Neots Youth Support Service alongside St. Neots Children's Centres piloted a Virtual Baby Project in Ernulf Academy.
 
The programme consisted of 8 'lesson based' sessions on the following topics:
Introduction / Perceptions to Teenage Pregnancy:

  • Sexual Health
  • How will Pregnancy affect my life?
  • How will Pregnancy affect my life?
  • Financially what you and your baby need
  • Emotional and physically what you and your baby need and practicalities of parenting
  • Preparation for taking the Virtual Babies home

Following this the young people took the virtual babies home with them over a weekend on a programme called the ‘Day-Care Plus Weekend’

The 'Day-Care Plus Weekend' is done Thursday evening to Sunday morning. This includes a school day and gives students a better understanding of the pressures of having to be somewhere at a certain time as well as having to cope with the baby.
The young people took the babies home on Thursday and cared for it during the night then take the baby into school the next morning. At Ernulf Academy a room was designated to be a crèche for the young people to drop off the baby in the morning before lessons - the babies' ‘Day Care’ function then suspended the programme so the young people were able to go to all their lessons.  The Virtual Babies were collected at the end of the school day and taken home for the weekend. The programme then ran through the weekend until Sunday morning where the young people had a full day and night to recover for school on Monday!
 
The young people were naturally very tired and exhausted when they dropped off the babies on Sunday morning but they all were very proud of themselves and all made video diaries detailing their experiences. All the young people fed back that the experience had given them a real insight into the challenges that being a teenage parent faces and all were said they would advice their friends not to have a baby at a young age.
 
Young People's Feedback from sessions:
"Interesting"
"Great fun"
"I enjoyed it a lot"
"Good"
"Fun"
"Brilliant"
"Helpful"
"Amazing"

 

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