The availability of parenting support programmes has increased significantly within the UK over the last decade. Most evaluations of these programmes have focused on short-term outcomes. The present study attempted to gain a longer term perspective by interviewing 20 carers more than 12 months after completing a group-based programme. The results obtained using thematic analysis showed that the majority of participants felt the programme had had lasting effects on their ability to manage their children's behaviour and empowered them as adults. The key themes to emerge in the interviews were: the maintenance of parenting skills, the need for perseverance, strengthening of support networks and encouragement for further provision of programmes. It is argued that evaluation of support programmes should focus on more than parenting skills by assessing their impact on participants' wider lives. (c) 2007 The Author(s). Journal compilation (c) 2007 National Children's Bureau.