Setting up a Kidstime Workshop

Below are the details about what is required to run a Kidstime Workshop. If you want to find out more about setting one up in your area please contact us here






What does Kidstime offer?

Kidstime targets the specific adversities faced by the Children of Parents with Mental Illness.

The four aims of the Kidstime Workshops:

1.To help the children and young people gain understandable explanations of their parents’ mental illness and the behaviour in the parent which may be associated with this.

2.To address the children’s various fears, confusion, and lack of knowledge about mental illness and its treatment.

3.To help the parents who suffer from mental illness to find a medium within which the illness and its impact can be discussed between themselves and their children.

4.To help the parents to access or rediscover their pride, confidence and competencies as parents.

Resource Requirements

In some cases it may be necessary – albeit often temporarily whilst a parent is still recovering from illness – for assistance to be provided with transport to the venue.

  • A venue of about 100 sq metres (or larger) is ideal
  • Video camera and audio-visual playback facilities
  • Stacking chairs, table for refreshments
  • Soft drinks, tea/coffee, and nibbles for the ‘arrival’ phase
  • Some more substantial food for the break before showing the films e.g. pizzas.
  • Flip chart and coloured pens.
  • A4 paper, washable coloured pens, pencils etc for use by the children, both in the dramas and as exercises.
  • Printed Feedback Forms

Staffing Requirements

From two to five family workers with a core team made up or Clinical Lead, Drama Lead and a Co-ordinator. Team members will be allocated different functions to each team member; for example; organising the venue, transport, and food, leading the seminar, leading the parents or the children’s groups, or participating in different ways in either. Teams may also be augmented with volunteers or professionals from other agencies who want to learn from observation.

The family workers all need to be committed to the 4 hours/month of the workshops, whilst one of two of the workers needs to take on the responsibilities of:

  • responding to referrals, enquiries, and processing the same, as well as making transport arrangements for the families where needed
  • meeting new families at home or on-site prior to their first visit
  • providing outreach brief interventions for the small number of families who request the same.

These additional tasks are likely to require a commitment of an additional 10-14 hours of staff time.

The term ‘Family Worker’ is applied to all the staff contributing to the Kidstime workshops. They may be drawn from any of the professions of mental health workers, social workers, psychologists, young carers workers, psychiatrists, family therapists, or workers with special skills such as drama, or art therapy. At least one member of the team will need to have experience of systemic work, and some level of systemic training.

There are particular advantages in the workshops being organised as a collaborative venture between different agencies – statutory and voluntary – both in order to facilitate the development of a broad base of participants, as well as to ensure a smooth referral process.

It has also been found useful to have a steering group, which can include representatives of users and young carers but to which selected managers, funders, or other relevant professionals (such as local safeguarding managers) may be invited from time to time. The inclusion of users and carers is particularly useful, although not always easy to maintain because of shifting populations etc. The steering groups commonly meet between one and three times per year.

Whilst the Kidstime workshops meet relatively frequently, other meetings with funders, managers, possible referrers, or ‘away days‘ for the team etc may be required from time to time.

Referral And Selection

Referral of suitable families may be from any source, but particularly (in order of common frequency); mental health workers, children’s social workers, voluntary workers (particularly those concerned with ‘young carers’), psychiatrists, family therapists and psychologists, general practitioners, and by recommendation from other families who have attended.


A common timetable would be:

16:00     Family workers meeting. It can also be useful if a user or carer representative from the steering group can attend this meeting.

17:00    Arrival of the families. Light refreshments of soft drinks, biscuits, and ‘nibbles’ are usually provided, and a social mingling is encouraged

17:15     Whole group meeting or parents, children and workers, participating in ‘joining’ exercises and then the seminar/demonstration session.

17:30    Parallel separate parents’ group and children’s activity/drama groups. At the end (last 10-20 minutes) of the children’s group some activity/ies or drama/s are filmed by one of the children/ young people.

18:45    Whole group meets for further refreshments (usually pizzas and further soft drinks).

19:00    Whole group meets for feedback of the themes/topics discussed by the parents (with some questions/discussion) and viewing of the film produced by the children.

19:15     Whole group discussion of the film and other events of the evening.

19:30     Families depart

19:45     Family workers review meeting.

KTW Budget Outline/Estimate

£20,000 per year to run a Kidstime Workshop