Lockdown has proved to be no obstacle for local Breastfeeding charity, South Cumbria Breastfeeding Support, with the charity now able to offer more support to local Mums during COVID-19 than was available prior to lockdown. This service has enabled parents to access vital support during a time where many other services have needed to close.
The charity (SCBS) has radically changed the way in which it operates, taking services online in a way that supports local Mums through pregnancy, birth and onwards. Prior to lockdown the charity operated three local Breastfeeding Support groups in Kendal, Windermere and Ulverston. These weekly drop-in groups provided social contact for new mums, as well as the skilled help of an IBCLC (Lactation Consultant), for many years.
Determined that Cumbrian families should not be left with less support than before Covid-19, SCBS’s trustees acted fast to find new ways of providing both virtual social ‘contact’ and also specialist help. With their support, Ann Bruce (IBCLC) launched a new closed online forum to enable mums to connect with each other.
Within days of the start of lockdown, the charity was running regular live virtual get-togethers, antenatal classes and Q&A sessions, all free-to-access for local mums. Initially serving the 30 families who had been attending SCBS groups just before lockdown, the group now supports over 300 families, right across Cumbria and North Lancashire, from women who have just found out that they are pregnant, to families with older nurslings.
Most powerful of all is the boundless support that mums-to-be and mums are offering each other within the private group. Sharing the highs and lows of pregnancy, motherhood and the challenges of breastfeeding, women across the region really are ‘in it together’, whether pregnant, breastfeeding, combination feeding or expressing their milk.
Feedback from mums has been very positive:
‘By being online it allows me to gain knowledge and advice without having to travel.’
‘I think it’s great. Very friendly and I enjoy being part of this group.’
‘I’ve loved these groups, they have been a lifeline for me.’
SCBS Trustees are now exploring how to sustain this new style of working into the future.
The group have also made a short film showing the story of March-June 2020, and celebrating their strong sense of togetherness at a time when we have all been kept physically apart. The film, A Celebration of Togetherness, launched on social media on Monday 3rd August.
South Cumbria Breastfeeding Support is a charity, and receives no NHS or Council funding. They rely on grants and donations to sustain their work. You can support them here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/donation-web/charity?charityId=1012773&stop_mobi=yes
Facebook and Instagram @cumbriabreastfeeding