A group of Northamptonshire mums have found a baby meet-up group following County Council cuts to children’s centre services
National charity, Spurgeon's, who work with vulnerable families, children and young people, helped to run the ‘Baby and You’ group in Hardingstone earlier on this year, providing much-needed support for new mums in the area.
However, funding was stopped back in July as “group members didn’t meet the demographic” and it has since been taken on by four mums. It has now won the backing of the NCT.
Group member of NCT Hardingstone Tots Lindsay Shenton told the Chronicle & Echo that people may not see the value of such groups, but for the mums who attend it is a hugely important chance to meet other parents and health experts.
She said: “Unfortunately issues such as postnatal depression can affect all women regardless of class or income, and groups such as ours help support all carers up to 18 months.
“If you are on maternity leave, you want to go somewhere to make a headstart before you have the baby. So if you have been beforehand it's nice to get involved first so that, when you come back, you know there are people to help you out.
"It’s just really important to have somewhere to go and sit with people who share your life experience."
Once a month, two health visitors provide a weigh-in service for the babies and are on hand to answer any concerns that new mums may have.
She adds: “It’s a voluntary contribution. NCT are a charity, they raise money through various means.
"It was a £1 donation when we were running it ourselves, but now if people can or want to put that in that’s fantastic. The idea is that everyone is welcome regardless of income.
"We probably would have closed if NCT hadn’t taken this on - we would have lost the group.
"Apart from the library service, there is very little locally to go to. It would have been very sad, although some of us know each other from outside the group, there are a lot of people we don’t know. It's nice to bring other people in and meet new friends."
Northamptonshire County Council announced this month that Action for Children and Spurgeons, who were delivering targeted children’s centre services for the council across the county, will not have their contracts renewed in March.
Sarah Brinkley of West Hunsbury, who attends the group with daughter Poppy, said: "This is an hour-and-a-half where I'm not thinking about getting chores done.
"I can be selfish with my time, it's a lovely group. I don't feel like an outsider.
"In other groups, there have been cliques. There is no judgement if you bottle feed or use a dummy. It's just nice to see other people make sure everything is normal."
The group meets on Wednesdays from 10am-11.30pm during term time at Hardingstone Village Hall and can be attended by non-NCT members from pregnancy to baby (18 months).