Birth & Beyond
We are delighted to be working in partnership with the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) to offer support to new mothers in Feltham through their Birth & Beyond Community Supporters project. The NCT was successful in securing funding from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Nesta, a global innovation foundation, as part of their Early Years social action fund. To enable the NCT to extend their reach within the short time frame of the project, working with partners who have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the population is key to achieving that goal. Reach Children’s Hub is one of five partners that NCT is working with on this project.
To date 24 local mothers have completed a 20-hour OCN accredited training programme to become Birth and Beyond Community Supporters, offering peer support to families around Feltham. The project is currently recruiting a further 10 mums to train during February 2019.
“Since completing the NCT Birth and Beyond course, I have been given the opportunity to volunteer at one of our local feeding clinics. This has been so helpful, not only in giving me more confidence in putting everything I have learnt in to practice but also an insight of how useful this programme could be for mums and family’s in our community.”
Jo volunteer in Feltham
Support offered by trained volunteers
The project offers a combination of outreach support in groups’ and one to one support. To date 73 families have been supported since the project went live in Feltham in April 2018, 34 through floating support and 58 through one to one support. Of the families supported feedback has been extremely positive with 95% of interactions being well or very well received and volunteers feeling that the support session was good or excellent. Appreciating that this project’s aim is to support those who are isolated, outreach has played a significant role in engaging with local mums and supporting them in an environment they are familiar with. Referrals are coming in steadily from health visiting and midwifery with referrals also from housing and social care.
“I was saying to the lady that I help that- it’s not just me helping her. As I am at home most days alone I can go a whole week without speaking to anyone apart from my husband and kids, so she has helped me just as much! She’s made me realise that no matter how big your problems are try and be positive about them - it will all work out in the end”
Jade, Feltham volunteer
“I wasn’t sure what to expect when I turned up at St.Catherine’s House …. Slowly people started to come in and talking to us. After understanding why we were there and seeing the children playing nicely, the women started opening up about their backgrounds, their current issues and their future. Having these conversations gave us the opportunity to tell them about the local services in the area that might help them… As we left, the women hugged us and asked us to come back as often as possible.”
Aerin, Feltham Volunteer
Case studies of mothers supported by volunteers through the project
The Feltham project is now reaching women with increasing vulnerability. Many of the women supported by the project do not have English as a first language and are going through the asylum process. As a result the project volunteers are regularly supporting women with complex needs who are reliant on food banks or have very poor mental health.
"I can't tell you how much she helps me, just having her around, she helps me with absolutely everything. I don't feel alone in this country anymore like I used to, I don't know what I would do without her!"
Feltham client ‘N’
Many women are supported from their home and accompanied to local groups or services frequently providing a valuable listening service.
"It is absolutely great meeting with Aerin, I appreciate her support so much, having someone to talk to who is another adult is great, and just having the time to talk means a lot to me. It reminds me that I'm not just a mother but an adult too."
Feltham client ‘W’
Where possible the project supports women in their mother tongue and therefore is always seeking volunteers that speak more than one language.
“Every week Rasha helps me and it is so convenient for me that she speaks Arabic.”
Feltham client ‘H’
NCT & Reach Children’s Hub working in partnership
We are currently developing plans to continue and expand our work with the NCT.
“Working with Reach Children’s Hub has been instrumental to the initial success of this project – their links with the local community have provided a network of referral routes, potential volunteers and clients. Having a physical space within Reach Academy for training and reflective updates has also been incredibly helpful and it is fantastic to see how committed the school is to this project and, more generally, to the theme of supporting the wellbeing of children and mothers in the first 1000 days.”
Rebecca Leuw, NCT Service Delivery Manager for Feltham