A new project, which enables mums to support others mums, has been launched in the city.
The Birth and Beyond Community Support programme was rolled out in the UK in 2017 and has now come to Sheffield and Rotherham, training volunteers to support their peers through the first 1,000 days of parenthood.
Operated by the National Childbirth Trust, the scheme is open to any woman that is pregnant, or has a child under two.
National project manager, Helen, said: “We’ve already recruited and trained 17 peer volunteers, but we’re on the lookout for more women to come on board. We also want to let mums who feel they could use this support know that this new service is here and available to them.
“Unlike other services, where the focus is on the child, this programme is designed to support the mums as the settle into their new role as a parent. Our volunteer peers provide someone to talk to, without judgement.
“A lot of the women who come forward as volunteers have experienced challenges themselves as mums, and understand how important that support can be. Others were well supported by family and friends, or other services, and want to give something back. We already know how effective peer support can be.”
The new programme enables mums to work in their local area, giving back directly to their own communities.
Helen added: “The programme is about getting support for mums, so as much as possible our volunteers will work to get new mums out of the house – accompanying them to appointments, children’s centres, groups, libraries, or even just to a coffee shop for a drink.
“Of course volunteers are available to come and see mums in their homes, especially at first, but we really want to help broaden the support and interaction available to new mums, as we know that becoming a parent can be lonely and isolating. This programme isa about making sure parents are accessing what’s available and helping them know where to reach out to.”
Anybody interested in becoming a peer volunteer is required to complete the free training, which takes 20 hours, and then needs to be able to commit to two hours a week, child-free.
If you would like more information about accessing the service, or about becoming a peer volunteer, contact Jo Ward, service delivery manager for South Yorkshire, on email@example.com or call 07860946796.