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Support service for breastfeeding mums facing closure
12:44pm Monday 3rd September 2012 in News
BREAST may be best – but a support group for breastfeeding mums faces closure unless it can raise its own funds to continue.
The drop-in service that currently runs on Tuesday mornings at the Hop-a-Long Children’s Centre in Hedge End can no longer use the venue for free.
And its Awards For All grant has come to an end and cannot be renewed as the scheme does not offer grants to existing projects.
The Southampton National Childbirth Trust (NCT), which runs the service, must now find a new free venue and raise £5,000 a year to keep providing its vital link between mums and the NHS.
This summer, Southampton NCT has raised £2,500 for the service through events, but this will only keep it going for the first few months Nicole Carpenter, a breastfeeding counsellor at the centre, said: “There are other support groups in central Southampton but these mostly just target deprived areas, so less deprived areas like Hedge End tend to get left out.
“However, it’s actually quite a socially isolated area with huge needs.”
The Department of Health recommends babies are breastfed until they are at least six months old.
Southampton Primary Care Trust reported only 34.3 per cent of Southampton’s babies were still breastfed at six weeks in 2010, which the NCT says can be due to a lack of support.
Mums are often referred to this support group by local health visitors when experiencing difficulties breastfeeding and helps reduce the workload of the already over-stretched health visitors.
Nicole said: “When asked, we found that 80 per cent of mums that came to the group would not have gone elsewhere if this service wasn’t running.”
- For more information or to help, call group leader, Jo Daniels on: 01489 781652, email: email@example.com or visit: nct.org.uk/branches/southampton