The Problem We Are Trying to Solve

Families with young children are naturally drawn to each other.
In the past there were focal points for connection.
Sure Start Children’s Centres for example.

As the Borough has developed the focal points of connection have fragmented.
There are still lots of people and organisations offering places to meet and get help and advice.
But there is little co-ordination.
It can be confusing for parents.
Much valuable support is under-used.

Most families with children are stretched financially.
Many parents are clever and resourceful and have something to give to their community.

Our Approach

The African proverb reminds us that it takes a village to raise a child. When the community comes together around children, children are safe and well.

We are finding and providing places -Church Halls, Cricket Club facilities- for parents with children to meet, get to know, learn from and support each other.

The idea is that the places are known as places for children and families, as place where something will be happening for children and families more or less every day of the week.

We want those activities to be free or low cost, most provided by parents themselves.

First steps

Coccon is a CIC, a fun, supportive, education community group.
We have built a network of 200 families.
They have been supporting each other.
And telling us how to build the Village.

We have started with a Village space.
For 25 families in a Community Centre in Dagenham.

Families come together every Friday to:

  • Engage in learning opportunities
  • Reflect on their parenting
  • Feel connected
  • Be creative 
  • Think collectively
  • Recycle, and
  • Much more.

All parents are:

  • Members of a WhatsApp group
  • Open to sharing responsibilities on a rota basis
  • Interested in leading activities of crafts, games and stories
  • Helping to take the idea forward.
Looking forward

We want to take this beyond:

  • Cocoon to other social sector organisations
  • The initial group of 25 to all families with children in Dagenham
  • One place to lots of places in Dagenham
  • One part of one day a week to the entirety of several days a week.

Natalia Lema, Early Years Cocoon

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