ERIC, The Children’s Bowel & Bladder Charity is the only charity dedicated to the bowel and bladder health of all children and teenagers in the UK. ERIC has been raising awareness of bowel and bladder issues since 1988. ERIC provides expert support, information and understanding to children and teenagers and enables parents, carers and professionals to help them establish good bowel and bladder health.
Funded by a grant from the Quartet Community Foundation, ERIC’s Healthy Bladder and Bowel training programme aims to make sure more children get the right start when they’re potty training. With more children than ever starting school in nappies[i] and building on the success of their award-winning ERIC Nurse Early Interventions Project, the Bristol-based charity has identified the need to provide training which addresses the problems that can arise in the first five years of a child’s life.
Brenda Cheer, Paediatric Specialist Continence Nurse and ERIC’s nurse says: “At ERIC we are passionate about supporting parents with this key milestone in a child’s life. Learning to use the toilet successfully and tackling any issues early is key to preventing continence issues becoming long-term and blighting childhoods. Our training programme has been designed to pass on practical information so bladder and bowel problems including constipation & soiling, day and night time wetting and behaviour issues such as fear of using the toilet can be recognised when they first appear and are packed with tips to help children become successfully toilet trained.”
Training workshops took place in September and October with workers and volunteers from Home-start Bristol, Home-start North Somerset, Action for Children and Brentry and Henbury Children’s Centre. 58 volunteers and staff attended the sessions, with 100% of the participants rating the training as ‘excellent’.
Here’s just some of the feedback ERIC has received:
Charlene, Home-start: “Brilliant! All parents and health professionals should have this training.”
Fran, Action for Children: “Excellent training and extremely engaging. Lifechanging personally and professionally.”
Caroline, Home-start: “Following this training I will be able to support families more confidently with potty training and be able to pick up constipation issues earlier and be able to advise parents on what to do and where to signpost.”
ERIC’s CEO Juliette Randall says: “We are so grateful to the Quartet Community Fund for recognising the importance of our Early Healthy Bladder and Bowel training to help more pre-school aged children achieve independent toileting skills. We want those working with families to feel confident in identifying potential continence issues before they become more serious and have the tools to better support and signpost parents and carers. At ERIC, we believe this kind of support is more important now than ever given the busy lives we lead and the increase in the numbers of hours funded childcare which is currently available”.
The Early Interventions Project focuses on children aged 0-5, the critical window for establishing good toileting practice and preventing long term health conditions. Being toilet training is recognised as one of the key skills that children need to develop independence, self-esteem and confidence to be able to thrive at school.
The ERIC Nurse Project was a three-year pilot study run by ERIC in collaboration with the Community Children’s Health Partnership in Bristol and South Gloucestershire and funded by a Department of Health Innovation Grant. The project, which ended in May 2016, aimed to increase early intervention into childhood continence problems and promote excellence in continence care. The project involved the development of leaflets to increase parents’ awareness of children’s continence and the support available, the delivery of training for health professionals and early years workers, and the development of the Children’s Continence Pathway to improve the child’s journey through continence care. The project won a Nursing Times Award in 2016 in the ‘Continence Care and Promotion’ category.
Quartet Community Foundation manages and distributes charitable funds to meet local needs on behalf of individuals, companies, families and other organisations, working across Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to connect local causes and charities with donors.