Lindsey Kerr, Parent Lead (2011-2014)

How did I build up?

Initially was attending my weekly God-Sent new parents group at my local sure start, where I had been a permanent fixture after attending the breast feeding support group when my son was less than 2 weeks old. By now I had my daughter of about 3 months and was drinking my first cup of hot tea since the week before new parents, when an extremely well read, yet warm and friendly lady (I thought they were mutually exclusive!) asked us if we would be willing to join a group to discuss what would help parents when their children became ill. The more mouthy members of the group (myself obviously included) said we were interested and passed over our details.

Months passed, and then we had a couple of meetings at sure start with a lovely lunch and créche (my idea of heaven at the time, thanks to 2 children who didn’t like sleep then!) Meetings involved discussions and apologies about the seemingly never ending quest for funding and proposal drafting. To be honest it was difficult to stay motivated when it seemed destined not to get off the ground, although the chance to return to university speak was welcome and reminded me I had a brain albeit, prior to preg head and baby brain!!

Next a research team meeting arose and I was asked to attend and represent the parent panel. My mum had the children and I travelled to Leicester, I was made really welcome in the meeting despite constantly interrupting for explanations of acronyms such as ELNECS and MCRM. Despite feeling as though I was using language fit for a 3 year old amongst a group of academics my input was treated with respect and taken into consideration – wow useful to adults as well as children, that made a change!! At the first meeting I agreed to write a piece about a recent illness event in my house, to this day I still can’t remember what it was, so maybe I got a bit too much respect!

Then I attended the next research panel meeting, during which I was made aware that funding had been found, and hence it was full steam ahead planning the next parents meeting in which we are due to discuss what info is available, what we use and why, what we don’t and why. SN was keen to ask parents to bring anything they found useful with them, I felt this was a little much to ask, and our main priority was ensuring people attended, and we didn’t want to dissuade anyone. So we agreed that we would bring some material if conversation struggled, but I was pretty sure ladies would happily discuss what they found useful and why. I put forward some concerns about the current parents panel who’s children are no longer really babies and most of the parents will be more confident in dealing with illness. Also I had concerns over the demographics of the parents panel and wanted to ensure we included all ethnic backgrounds and social groups .

Once the venue was confirmed I set about accosting people in playgroups and via facebook.

Also Sarah asked me to review a proposal for which she hoped to attend a conference in

Australia, despite it involving interrupting watching football with my husband (you can imagine my disappointment!!) I had a quick read and returned my thoughts.

After getting my brain into research mode (it was painful as the last time was 12 years ago!) I also put a few thoughts forward about how to run the parents panel meeting knowing a few of the personalities I’d invited.

Also I intend to go to the doctors to collate some pamphlets about illness and take any written material I have at home for the panel to review and discuss. Prior to meeting where we review internet information I hope to look at the info beforehand.