Separated teenage parents get support

The charity behind an innovative West Midlands family support programme is urging separated teenage parents to work together for the benefit of their child.

Spurgeons has developed a free 12-week programme to help teenage parents, who are separated or not in a relationship, in Birmingham, Solihull, Nuneaton, Bedworth, Dudley, Wolverhampton and Walsall. The programme offers practical and emotional advice and support to young parents and to expectant parents.

It comprises a mixture of group and couples-based sessions aimed at resolving a range of issues, such as roles and responsibilities, difficult conversations, contact and financial arrangements, all culminating in a parenting plan. Additional sessions are also offered for grandparents to help them support parenting arrangements made.

Rebecca Unitt, 21, and ex-partner Duane Middleton, 19, both from Dudley, say the programme helped open up communication channels for the sake of their eight month-old daughter. Rebecca said: “My partner and I would just argue all the time, but after completing the full programme we are now able to speak to each other and sort things out. It’s all been for the benefit of my daughter and we can all move on with our lives.”

Duane added: “We both agreed to do the course for our daughter because we never got along after we broke up, and it was affecting our daughter. Being in a controlled environment with someone who knows what they’re doing has greatly helped us get along and talk to each other properly. We can now talk about our little girl together and have regular contact on the phone.”

Spurgeons Programme Lead Diana Jagpal said: “The feedback from teens using the programme themselves and other professionals working with them has been overwhelmingly positive. Parents tell us that the programme has really helped them to communicate without arguing and that the whole process has been an enjoyable experience.” It’s wonderful to see the progress that is made in the three months we work with the parents. All the young parents we work with leave the programme with a greater understanding of the benefits of healthier communication and how that can help them and their child.”

The two-year initiative is funded through the Department for Work and Pensions’ Innovation Fund. Free crèche facilities are available for attendees. For more information about the scheme, visit, email or call 01902 877 559.