An extensive evidence base and practice experience underpins our peer support model.

  • The Dublin Community Mothers Programme (Johnson et al 1993, 2000)

  • The Mothers Informing Mothers programme in the Netherlands (Hanrahan and Prinsen 1997, Prinsen 2000).

Sustained benefits highlighted include parenting skills and maternal self-esteem. Volunteering as a community mother also provided a pathway into lifelong learning opportunities (Molloy 2007).

A Collective Evaluation of Community Parent Programmes (Suppiah 2005-2007)

This study involved ten Community Parent Programmes operating across England, Wales and Scotland and explored:

  • What works well and in what circumstances?

  • How can programmes be modified to improve effectiveness?
To read this study click here

Volunteering and Early Childhood Outcomes. A review of the Evidence (Parents 1st and IVAR 2016)

This Evidence Review and accompanying Implementation Framework was funded by the Big Lottery Fund to guide the development of volunteering in the five 'A Better Start' sites across England. They illuminate how volunteer projects can contribute to early childhood outcomes in ways that are distinct from, but complementary to, professional support. Key principles and features of volunteer projects are identified that have successfully contributed to child development outcomes.

To read the Evidence Review click here

To read the Implementation Framework click here

Impact and Measurement Evaluation Report (Renaisi 2016)

This report acknowledges the complexity of peer support and describes an evaluation project carried out by Renaisi and the NESTA Centre for Social Action and Innovation. It involved two Parents 1st programme sites (Essex and Tower Hamlets) and created a new evaluation framework.

The Parents 1st peer support model is holistic and strengths-based. The approach is informal and adapted to the unique circumstances of each parent. The evaluation project considered the different contexts of each local area, and the relationships across service provision in each area and recognised that outcomes are context dependent.

A wealth of learning took place throughout the process of creating the new evaluation framework. Innovative evaluation tools were designed including a 'Wheel of Circumstance' to track outcomes more systematically across multiple domains.

The new measurement system better reflects our individually tailored approach. It allows us to make clear statements about the value of our work, in context and in partnership with other services.

To read the full report click here