Helping hand for isolated new mums as charity launches phone support during lockdown

A mum receiving phone support Picture: PROSTOCK STUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK

A mum receiving phone support Picture: PROSTOCK STUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK - Credit: Prostock Studio/Shutterstock

New mums are feeling isolated and scared during the coronavirus crisis - but a Suffolk-based charity is reaching out a helping hand.

A Home-Start volunteer visiting a supported family before lockdown restrictions. Picture: HOME-START

A Home-Start volunteer visiting a supported family before lockdown restrictions. Picture: HOME-START UK - Credit: Home-Start UK

Family support charity Home-Start in Suffolk helps families who are dealing with difficult circumstances. Usually, volunteers visit families in their homes each week to offer friendship, support and advice.

Sadly, visits have had to be suspended during the current coronavirus crisis, but the charity is instead offering support and help over the phone.

Alison Grant, family support manager for the charity, which has branches in Martlesham, Bury St Edmunds and Beccles, said: “We had been thinking about adding phone support, but had to bring it in really quickly. We have had a really positive response so far.”

She said: “If a new mum is feeling isolated and doesn’t have any family with them, we can arrange for someone to touch base with her.

READ MORE - What it really feels like to be pregnant in a pandemic“As a new parent, you can feel really lonely, even more during this very difficult time - and it makes a big difference just to have a friendly voice on the phone.

“Our volunteers can arrange to call in the evening, and if you are a new mum that is often a really nice time to chat, if your baby is asleep.”

Home-Start works with vulnerable families coping with a range of pressures, including mental health, relationship breakdown and financial pressures, and recently told how shortages of items such as baby milk and nappies affected parents during earlier panic buying.

READ MORE - Vulnerable families find it hard to obtain baby milk and nappiesMs Grant said new parents were often very worried when things didn’t turn out quite as they had expected - and, for instance, a baby had colic or wouldn’t sleep.

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With all the additional strain of the coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever to be able to access support.

“Due to current social distancing restrictions we have had to adapt our services to continue the support in the best way possible and are offering telephone support,” she said.

“This is working well, and we want to make sure that new and expectant mums know that, whilst they will have contact with midwives and health visitors, we have a team of amazing volunteers that could be a great support network for them during this time also.”

READ MORE - Follow all the latest coronavirus news in your area here.Volunteers are currently scheduling regular phone calls instead of visits, and it is also hoped to add video call support soon. It is possible that phone support will continue as an addition to visits after the service can get back to normal.

Most families are referred to the service by professionals such as midwives, health visitors and early help teams, but it is also possible for parents to self-refer.

Home-Start is looking for more volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to join its team. If you need support or wish to volunteer or make a donation, visit their website or call 01473 621104.

READ MORE - You can join our coronavirus updates Facebook group here and sign up to get the latest coronavirus headlines direct to your inbox here.

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