Food, fun and learning on the menu at Govanhill’s Family Café

By Jessica Reid

It’s Saturday morning at Govanhill Neighbourhood Centre and a wide range of families are arriving for this week’s Family Café. Breakfast consists of Danish pastries, fruit salad and tea and coffee – it’s vital to stock up on energy for the day of activities ahead.

          Family Café is a weekly event aimed at creating opportunities for families to spend time together over food, fun and learning. Family learning sessions are a joint project between Govanhill Community Development Trust and Glasgow Life; the project is still in the pilot stages, but things are going well so far. The last two Saturdays have both seen around 100 people attending and there’s been lots of positive feedback.

          A day at the Family Café looks something like this: family breakfast, then Bookbug reading sessions and play-along maths, followed by lunchtime, and finally games and ESOL classes.

          As the early birds finish their breakfast, I get chatting to Riz, a local mum-of-three who’s recently moved back to Glasgow. When I ask what she makes of Family Café, she tells me about the sense of security that comes with seeing familiar faces. And her daughter really enjoys it here – so much so that when they get home she’s so knackered that she’s snoring away in no time.

         Riz’s four-year-old is preparing to go to big school this autumn. When asked by one of the Glasgow Life workers if she ever gets a bit nervous, the answer is a resounding, “Nah!” Riz’s wee one is on the cusp of independence. But she still likes to be near Mum, who jokes that her umbilical cord was never cut. That’s what’s so great about Family Café. It’s an opportunity for families to learn, problem solve and play as a unit. And as evidence repeatedly shows the difference parents’ involvement in kids’ education makes, it’s giving Govanhill’s kids a real advantage. Some of the feedback given to Glasgow Life and GCDT backs this up

“Coming to the Café each week has been great for me and my girls this feels like part of our family now”

“My confidence and my children’s confidence has improved as we have learned so many new things.  We just love coming every week”

“We are closer as a family as we eat together, play and learn and meet other families within our community”.

The last family learning session for this term will take place on Saturday the 30th of March. More information about the future of this project will be available from this site.