"Were thrilled to have this opportunity to enable a much more joined-up approach to community support, helping families across England through pregnancy and the transition to parenthood"
A partnership of three perinatal mental health charities across England will benefit from a three-year funding programme from The National Lottery Community Fund to connect community-led pre and postnatal wellbeing support services across England.
The Hearts and Minds Partnership is made up of three charities; Bluebell Care, Acacia Family Support and Smile Group, covering the South West, Midlands and North West respectively. The Partnership will act as a catalyst to bring grassroots organisations together in a coherent way by developing an England-wide interactive map of safe, good quality, user-led perinatal mental health services. This is vital for parents who don’t meet the threshold for NHS specialist perinatal services and are unsure of where to turn to for help. A series of workshops will be held across the regions to share best practice in the development of community-based, user-led perinatal wellbeing services and promote collaboration.
The partnership received over £440,000 in March from the National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, to enable a more joined up approach to community support to help the 20%* of new mums who are experiencing emotional wellbeing challenges in the perinatal period.
This coordinated effort to support families at a community level will help to ease the heightened sense of isolation experienced by many parents-to-be and new parents, due to reduced face-to-face healthcare appointments in the lockdown period, which has left families feeling disconnected from their communities.
With a collective track record of around 30 years among the partnership members, Acacia Family Support, Bluebell Care and Smile Group have come together as charities with shared values and a proven history of developing and growing third sector organisations offering pre and postnatal emotional support services. The Partnership will translate this learning into a programme of bespoke training to support emerging community perinatal mental health organisations across England.
Commenting on the funding announcement, Ruth Jackson from The Hearts and Minds Partnership said: “We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to enable a much more joined-up approach to community support, helping families across England through pregnancy and the transition to parenthood.
“It’s a very challenging time for smaller community organisations at the moment, who are met by funding headaches as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, so we aim to connect and help support the development of existing and emerging groups by sharing best practice and demonstrating generous leadership.”
While there has been a considerable amount of focus on investment into clinical services within perinatal mental health across the country in recent years, The Partnership feels it will plug a vital gap by acting as the voice of perinatal community-led services in England to be a conduit for communication and information sharing with strategic bodies.
Shane Ryan, Deputy Director – England at the National Lottery Community Fund, said: “The impact of lockdown on expectant mothers and new parents means this partnership is now needed more than ever.
“Thanks to National Lottery players this initiative brings together grassroots community organisations to share best practice and importantly places the voice of parents at the heart of everything they do.”
*Source – NHS England
For more information visit www.heartsandmindspartnership.org