It’s a difficult time for expectant parents at the moment, but two local groups - both recipients of the £20million HPC Community Fund - are working in new ways to help make things a little easier.
Home-Start West Somerset
Home-Start West Somerset, who received £142,000 from the HPC Community Fund, has seen their case load double since the coronavirus pandemic started. They previously supported the Sedgemoor and West Somerset areas and have now expanded their outreach to the whole of Somerset. One element of support they offer are online antennal classes, which ordinarily would have been run in person. By offering this course as a 1-2-1 session online, parents are benefiting from private sessions with trained professionals.
The group also offers an online antenatal drop-in session every Wednesday, where expectant parents, new parents and families can all join together with the support of the volunteers and a health visitor.
Clary Binding, whose role as Family Support Coordinator is directly funded as part of the HPC Community Fund grant, said: “It’s so important at this time where people can’t meet in person, that we create an online community where parents can get to together. Not only getting support from professionals but also sharing and learning from each other’s experiences”.
Nourish Bumps, Babies and Breastfeeding
Nourish is another organisation making the best of an unusual situation. They received a grant of £9,056 from the HPC Community Fund. Sarah Harcombe, qualified NCT Breastfeeding Councillor, said: “The funding has transformed the group and we can now look forward to going from strength to strength”.
Through their online Cuppa, Catch Up & Support, breastfeeding mums can access much-needed support and guidance. Sarah said: “I am so proud of what has been achieved and how quickly we have adapted. I get to work with wonderful passionate women who at the core of everything want to help parents.”
Nourish set up its E-Peer Support Page in response to the coronavirus outbreak as a way for new parents to contact Nourish’s trained peer supporters for advice. Sarah sees this as a positive to come out of the situation and even when the group is able to meet in person again she’d like to continue offering support via the E-Peer Support Page.
Somerset Community Foundation
Somerset Community Foundation, who administers the HPC Community Fund, set up a Somerset Coronavirus Appeal in March to support community groups in Somerset during the current pandemic. They recently awarded Nourish a grant of £3,000.