Sheffield MP praises service that helps to give babies best start in life

A Sheffield MP has praised the work of a service that helps parents and carers to build stronger relationships with their babies.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Gill Furniss, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, visited Sheffield Parent and Infant Relationship Service (PAIRS) to see the work they are doing.

The service helps parents and carers who need extra support to build strong and nurturing relationships with their babies. It is funded by Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield City Council through its Start for Life programme.

For more information, go to https://tinyurl.com/2xpkqm3u

Sheffield MP Gill Furniss with a mum and baby she met during a visit to the Sheffield PAIRS service, which supports families to build stronger bonds with their youngsters. Picture: Parent-Infant FoundationSheffield MP Gill Furniss with a mum and baby she met during a visit to the Sheffield PAIRS service, which supports families to build stronger bonds with their youngsters. Picture: Parent-Infant Foundation
Sheffield MP Gill Furniss with a mum and baby she met during a visit to the Sheffield PAIRS service, which supports families to build stronger bonds with their youngsters. Picture: Parent-Infant Foundation
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Sheffield PAIRS Service launched in 2022 and has grown to support families and professionals across the city.

Dr Anna Engel, consultant clinical psychologist and clinical lead for the service, said: “We are a small team of psychologists, psychotherapists, infant mental health practitioners and a specialist health visitor who are passionate about supporting parents, carers and professionals to make sure that every baby in Sheffield has the best possible start in life.

Struggle

“Although having a baby can be a special and joyous time, it can also be challenging. It’s not unusual for parents and carers to struggle. The PAIRS team provides support for those who need it so that they can build a strong and nurturing relationship with their baby or young child.

“We work with parents and carers and their babies from conception to age three. There are lots of different ways to help parents and carers strengthen their relationship with their baby and we work closely with families and other professionals to work out what support will suit them best.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I’d encourage anyone who feels they might benefit from support from PAIRS to get in contact with the team or, if they prefer, their midwife, health visitor or GP.”

Early relationships influence the way that a baby’s brain develops, say the PAIRS service. When parents and carers are able to tune in and respond to their babies’ needs, it lays the foundations for lifelong mental and physical health and helps them to grow up feeling safe and secure to explore and learn.

It also helps them to understand and manage their emotions and behaviour.

During the visit, Gill Furniss met families and babies who received help from Sheffield PAIRS and heard about the difference this made to their lives.

Crucial

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: “Sheffield PAIRS does amazing work supporting local babies and caregivers to develop stronger relationships. The families I met today felt supported and more confident about understanding their babies’ needs and developing a strong bond that will support them as they grow.

“It is a great testament to the work done by the local service and makes a huge difference to babies at a crucial point in their development.”

The visit was coordinated by the Parent-Infant Foundation, a national charity that supports the development, growth and quality of specialised parent-infant relationship teams around the UK. Website: https://parentinfantfoundation.org.uk

Sheffield PAIRS is one of 46 specialised parent-infant relationship teams across the UK.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Keith Reed, foundation chief executive, said: “The Sheffield PAIRS Service is doing a great job for families in the city. Although they are doing fantastic work, there are still too many babies suffering from a poor relationship with their parents.

“They would benefit from the transformative effect that only specialised parent-infant relationship teams, like Sheffield PAIRS, can provide.”

Related topics: