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Contact centre
This is the point i am at next week. cafcass have said that contact needs to happen but the mother is refusing. They said that if she is pushed into a corner then she may accept contact in a contact centre. They do also say that we need to come to an agreement for contact to happen outside of it too. I am not going to accept the contact centre as there is no need for it at all apart from trying to appease the mother. If they have recommended contact outside at the same time then it surely proves my point that there is no need.

I dont see why the absent parent should be expected to foot the bill in order to have contact when the only reason it is happening is because the resident parent doesnt want you to.
I can't slap you on the back enough for spotting that. There are enough dads on this forum who are browbeaten into accepting a contact centre. The 'test' is simple. Is there a safeguarding issue? If not, then why does it need to be in a contact centre. Stick to your guns. I did. And what she went for in the end was 'supported' contact (ie her friend came and sat in a room whilst I saw the children in case they got upset) and that took place at a bog standard play centre during their play session before it was increased. And the only reason I accepted 'supported' contact is because she had spent so long keeping the kids from me so I had no idea how they would react!

Your last sentence says it all. Her motivation is spite and that's what you say, but in not so many words. Saying things like., "there are no safeguarding issues and Im not sure how it would benefit the children to have contact in a contact centre." and you might want to mumble something along the lines of ".... Is this really in the best interest of the children."
Without telling anyone, work out a workable compromise. Ie, the first x sessions (maybe 3 or 4) to take place at a play centre/children's centre as_supported_contact. Her friend can come sit in a room for an hour or two in case the children get upset. Work out where a nearby centre is (to her) days and times of sessions. It shows the judge you're keen and have done your homework. Like you've said, social think you need to work out contact outside of a centre and the only reason why there is a wish to put it there is your ex. That is not acceptable.

Stick to your guns and let us know how it goes.
I was offered supported contact but this only takes place once a fortnight for an hour, which is not near enough contact to see my son. I was offered to see my child in a public place with a 3rd party from my childs mother but opted for supervised contact because I want the evidence to prove further that I am no problem with my son.

I was told from numerous parties that opting for supervised contact as opposed to supported (in the contact centre or a 3rd party outside of it) will not be detrimental to my case in any form, if anything it will be only positive as it shows I am taking the route which gives me the most time with my child, regardless of finances, alongside having numerous reports to further show I am brilliant with my child.

I am currently using supervised contact 2/3 times a week at my own expense, granted I would rather put the money elsewhere but its the option which gives me the most contact.
My new partner had a few contact sessions. All fine, just a plain converted terraced house. Nothing glam. Take activities with you. It looks like you are prepared.  My partner took halloween things to make as it was that time of year. He has a very colourful bag full of fun sticking things and another full of cake decorating things (blank cakes from tescos) then an apron, couple mixing bowls, icing sugar, bottle of water, table cloth, and lots of cool sparkly things to decorate cakes.

Go all out to make it fun and engage the child (like they are at school), ask someone for help if your are not sure what to do.

He made cakes for the 'ex'. Demonstrates no anomosity and engages the child. They need to see you like your ex and the relationship is normal even if its terrible.

You could make a Christmas card for Mummy!

Just risk assess it in your head (no sharp knives, no staining paint on the floor etc).

Have fun - Just pretend its school.  And don't worry. Children pick up on this.

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