Smiling Black child

Children's mental health

ParentSkills2Go: Trusted, community-embedded support for children’s mental health

We’re partnering with ParentSkills2Go to support their continued work to reduce the external stressors faced by many families in Southwark

Key information:

What we’re doing together

Our partnership with ParentSkills2Go (PS2G) is based on our shared understanding that children thrive when we work towards equality and justice for all communities. 

PS2G provides support, advice, training, and advocacy for parents and families in the London Borough of Southwark. They work to reduce the stressors faced by so many families and young people in urban areas, from housing and financial insecurity to the trauma of escaping your country to protect your children. They are led by Margaret Taribo, a community leader with decades of experience working with Children’s Centres and SureStart programmes. Through this work Margaret has supported families facing the deepest inequalities, particularly those who have been excluded from existing help and services.  

PS2G is a long standing and trusted organisation deeply rooted in the local community. They help to alleviate some of the pressure and distress families are under, supporting with basic needs like food and housing, and running activities that build understanding and skills around children’s mental health. 

As a Black-led organisation, PS2G offers this support and skills development in a compassionate and culturally sensitive space. They are a lifeline for many racially minoritised communities who don’t feel safe to access support elsewhere.  

As well as activities and training that focuses on children’s mental health, they also support parents to improve their employability, confidence, financial planning, and understanding of their rights. Each of these areas contributes to parents’ own mental health, which has a positive impact on the whole family. 

In addition to supporting the vital work PS2G has done for many years, we are also supporting the development of their new programme, My Child & Me, that focuses on helping young children with mental health and behavioural difficulties.

Margaret Taribo, Executive Director of ParentSkills2Go, said “Working with Impact on Urban health will create an avenue for improved strategy and learning that will further support delivery and improved outcomes for the families and the community we serve. Key to this partnership is our flagship product, My Child and Me which, brings in elements of the other services we run.  It is about early intervention for parents in the BAME community, when children are younger, to prevent mental health issues in adolescence.” 

I count it a privilege and a great opportunity to be working in partnership with Impact on Urban health in planning, developing and growing ParentSkills2Go as an organisation. ParentSkills2Go has been delivering services to parents, young people, and families for many years in a way that is valued and impactful. I am so excited and grateful for the level of support being provided in terms of resources, time and capacity and believe that the success of this partnership will model what should be happening for more Black-led organisations like ours.

Margaret Taribo Executive Director of ParentSkills2Go

Aims of the partnership

A priority for this partnership is to give Margaret and the team at PS2G the time, head space, and resources to plan for the organisation’s growth and long-term future.

As such an invaluable source of support for so many families, especially in the context of the cost of living crisis, PS2G have particular aims that will help them reach as many families as possible.

These include: 

  • Having paid staff rather than depending on volunteers. This will help them deliver consistent support for families and contribute to stability of income for staff, many of whom are parents themselves and impacted by the same stresses and inequalities  
  • Developing evaluation plans that demonstrate the impact they are having. Using this to support fundraising, share learning with other organisations, and inform policy makers 
  • Exploring the possibility of having a permanent venue where they can provide a creche and continuity for the families they support 

Together we aim to build on the impact PS2G is already having, with a focus on

  • Strengthening PS2G’s business model so they can deliver even more and become more sustainable 
  • Developing the My Child & Me programme so that children and families get support early, before the distress and subsequent behavioural difficulties get more severe 
  • Reaching even more families with holiday clubs and activities, especially those who need access to basics like food and nappies 
  • Better understanding how we and other funders can support these organisations that are so deeply embedded in their communities, but historically underfunded 

This partnership with PS2G is of vital importance to the children’s mental health programme. We’re learning a lot about the needs of families in Southwark who experience multiple and intersecting inequalities. We’re also learning more about who is best placed to provide trusted and nuanced support. As a community embedded organisation, PS2G is highly trusted by families and they work tirelessly to respond to the needs they’re constantly learning about. Resourcing this nature of organisation equitably and over the long term is vital to be able to further health equity for families in Southwark.

Kamna Muralidharan
Kamna Muralidharan Portfolio Manager

Connection to our long-term strategy

The children’s mental health programme works with trusted, experience-led organisations and leaders who are embedded in their communities. These organisations and leaders understand better than anyone the levels of inequality and distress many children and families face, and the huge impact this can have on their mental health. Because they are so trusted and deeply rooted in their communities, they are able to provide sensitive, nuanced, compassionate support that families feel safe to access. 

Over 40% of the families PS2G supports are not entitled to any benefits. They work with a high number of families who are trying to secure their immigration status, which means many are in insecure or unsafe housing and live in extreme poverty.  All of these stressors are known to impact on parents’ mental health and wellbeing, and the physical health and mental health of their children.   

We want to understand and demonstrate the impact organisations like PS2G have on communities, and how their insights can be shared and used to influence policy more widely. Besides the universal support they provide around food, housing, and employment – all stressors that contribute to mental health problems in children – their model for skills development is a good example of empowering parents without stigma or judgement.  

One of our strategic priorities is raising the profile and credibility of leaders like Margaret, and organisations like PS2G. When these experts have greater reach, they have more influence over the way we understand these issues, what we research, who we fund, and ultimately how we make things better.  

We have already learned and unlearned so much by listening to families, particularly about the ways distress and trauma can be expressed through children’s behaviour. PS2G’s My Child & Me programme will give us more opportunities to build understanding of the issues impacting on children’s mental health. The ultimate goal of the programme is for all families to be able to access early, safe, compassionate support for their children’s mental health.