Peer Support Worker

Debbie started as a volunteer with Parents 1st in 2013 as a birth buddy, as she wanted to give something back to the community she has lived in for many years.

The idea of being able to support a mum during birth was an experience that Debbie wanted to be part of and hopefully make the overall outcome a better start for a new family.

Debbie joined the Parents 1st staff team as a peer support worker in September 2015. This role expands on her volunteer experience and incorporates recruiting new volunteers to the programme, outreach activities at Children’s centres, GP surgeries and the local hospitals, assisting the office administration team with collating paperwork that volunteers use when supporting their families. All this alongside continuing to support families on a one-to-one basis.

To date Debbie has attended 15 births as a volunteer peer supporter and supported 130 families in her peer support worker role, totalling 867 hours of support. The majority of these families have lived on Canvey Island however; Debbie covers the Basildon district also.

More recently Debbie has undertaken training in Video Interactive Guidance (VIG), which she offers to families to help them bond and create an attachment with their baby.

Debbie has a background as a nursery nurse holding a Nursery Nurse Examination Board (NNEB) qualification. She was a private nanny for 10 years before having her own family and then returned to work as a pre-school supervisor for 15 years before deciding to become a Parents 1st volunteer.

Debbie completed the City and Guilds 3599 Award in Work with Parents whilst training and volunteering with Parents 1st

"I enjoy the not knowing factor of supporting new families, as no two families are the same. There are different challenges that require different levels of support."

Any spare time Debbie has, she enjoys baking.