SMILE Connect is a Community Group and support network which seeks to help Lone Parent Families. A dedicated team of volunteers have made SMILE what it is – a place of acceptance, love and some fun too!
At the various sessions friendship can be developed, advice & information received, and a chance to relax from the pressures of raising children alone.
In 2010 the Management Committee was formed, and the Constitution adopted in March 2011. Alix Digby was employed by SMILE through Faithworks Wessex after obtaining a grant from the Seedbed Trust. Her role is to work with the SMILE Management Committee & Faithworks to develop the service, build community, and offer support to other lone parents.
SMILE is a voluntary group run by Christians, who seek to demonstrate Jesus’ love to people of any faith. While we are not exclusive to Lone Parent families, however they are our main focus.
Our heart is for churches to work together, sharing practical, financial and time resources. We have links with Emily Bradbury’s Space For Life at No 34, Longfleet Combined School, Poole Missional Communities, Green Pastures and Longmead Community Farm. In fact Poole Missional Communities now run the No 34 Community Cafe (previously The Old Stables).
We would like to thank St Mary’s Longfleet for enabling SMILE to get off the ground and for their continued support as we move to Longfleet Baptist Church. As we build community in the wider sense we are looking to develop other links, including the Children’s Centres and other services.
Faithworks Wessex & SMILE have now run two QuidzIn courses, a Care For The Family course that seeks to teach parents how to raise financially wise children.
We are always looking for more volunteers and financial support. You do not have to be a Christian to become part of the team as long as you’re happy to work within the Christian ethos.
Initially SMILE started as a monthly coffee & play session on a Saturday morning. This has now grown so that parents can also meet on a weekly basis in No 34 in Poole High Street – a lovely coffee shop, which has community at it’s heart. We have been given the opportunity to sit in the beautifully peaceful lounge upstairs, and take time out from the busy-ness of life.
We try to listen to the needs of our members and we are growing in the various activities and programs offered. For example Sparkle* and S.P.O.R.T. As a member of the group we value your involvement and input into future ideas.
The SMILE team and families are so thankful for all support given by the various agencies and individuals who have made SMILE what it is today.