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Being a Parents in the Lead panel member

Parents in the lead panel, Better Start Bradford

When parents, grandparents and carers apply to Better Start Bradford’s Parents in the Lead activities fund they can feel secure that decisions are made by a selection panel that includes local parents.

The panel looks at all the applications and chooses the best ideas for local families with children under four to enjoy. One panel member, Shabana Shaikh, 38, shares what she gets out of being one of our panel members.

Shabana’s view from the panel

When I decided to become a Parents in the Lead panel member, I didn’t really know what I was letting myself in for. I just wanted to try and help mums and children to get the best out of the community.  At first I found it a bit daunting, but I am really glad that I stuck with it as I get a lot out of it – it has definitely brought me out of my shell.

I’m learning that my opinion is as valuable as anyone else’s

I really enjoy being a panel member and hearing about all the groups that are applying for funding. Some of the projects are really quite powerful and some of the groups really touch me. It is easy to take things for granted, but some parents don’t even have money for bus fares. I also enjoy meeting new people and hearing their ideas and I’m learning that my opinion is as valuable as anyone else’s. I feel like we are able to support parents and toddlers to do more than they would otherwise.

Becoming a panel member has made me realise that I want to do more with mums and children. I’m aware of the barriers that language and culture can create and I identify with this personally. I want to do more to support other parents with practical help, and am hoping to find ways to do this through Better Start Bradford and elsewhere.

Just go for it and see how it goes!

My three top tips for anyone thinking of applying to Parents in the Lead for funding are: be honest about what you need; ask for help if you need it or are unsure; and just go for it and see how it goes!

If anyone is interested in becoming a parent panel member I’d be more than happy to support them. I’m really glad I gave it a go.

By Shabana Sheikh, Parents in the Lead parent panel member

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