Working with Parents: Kitchen Table Talks – West Midlands (October 2021)


Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton services work in partnership with First Cass Legacy to run monthly meetings for parents whose children attend the youth justice service.  


Following the positive outcomes of Kitchen Table Talks, which were first established in Sandwell youth offending service, a new project focused on reducing serious youth violence was established in the West Midlands as part of the Youth Justice Board pathfinder work.  

The youth justice service pathfinder project was delivered collaboratively between seven services within the West Midlands area; Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton in conjunction with their local Violence Reduced Unit.  You may find of interest their evaluation.  

The project aims to create and facilitate community based, parental peer support networks across the West Midlands that can be accessed by parents with children known to or at risk of involvement with the youth justice system in partnership with First Class Foundation through their Kitchen Table Talks service.

Coventry youth offending service have shared how Kitchen Table Talks works in their service as an example of working practice. Coventry, and the other Services have an established referral process and referral form, which is used to refer parents to the service.  Kitchen Table Talks have also developed an information sheet that can be provided to parents to showcase the support they can provide.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic Kitchen Table Talks have been supporting parents and guardians across the West Midlands region through regular phone calls, messages, video calls as well as monthly on-line forums.  Feedback from the parents and guardians has been that they they feel they have been listened to, supported and encouraged in their parenting abilities, their experiences as well as seeing an improvement in their mental well-being.

Through the pandemic, Kitchen Table Talks have also sent out First Class Family boxes to some of the parents, who was felt that they could benefit from receiving a box of love, hope and encouragement. They have also sent out flowers and personalised cards to parents and families that have suffered a bereavement.

First Class Legacy have created a variety of short videos that may be of interest. 

Implementing the practice

  • The youth justice services deliver the Kitchen Table Talk session for parents once per month, together with their partner First Class Legacy;
  • At present the funding for this project comes from the PCC and pathfinder;
  • Practitioners discuss the forum with parents/carers of the children they are working with, providing they consent to contact, First Class Legacy then follow up and provide more information; 
  • Sessions are based around what the parents want to talk about and what they are willing to share with each other. There is usually a loose structure supplied by either First Class Legacy or the youth justice service to stimulate discussion but the emphasis is on peer support and being led by those present;
  • Youth justice service staff attend in small numbers to build relationships, and external agencies may sometimes use the forum to answer particular questions or talk to parents directly;
  • Previous to COVID-19 pandemic, the meetings were held in community spaces, and in particular a dessert bar.


Youth justice service:Sandwell Youth Offending Service
Name:Michael Botham
Partner organisation: First Class Legacy