Bright Beginnings

Having a baby at any time is a momentous thing, but giving birth in a strange country when you don’t know the system or even the language can be traumatic. Manor Gardens Welfare Trust has secured a three-year grant of £361,168 from the Big Lottery for Bright Beginnings to support 1,500 of these women in North London through bilingual Maternity Mentors.

Our five Maternity Mentors have been recruited from local refugee and migrant communities so that we can develop links with women in those communities. The Maternity Mentors provide accessible and culturally appropriate drop-in groups, workshops and information so that pregnant women and new mothers have all the information they need to give their baby the best start in life. They provide bilingual support, help women sign up with GPs and fill out forms and provide advocacy in healthcare appointments if needed.

Our aim is to help women stay well during and after their pregnancy as well as understanding how the health system works. We also promote good physical health and put on some special classes as well as raising awareness of mental health issues such as post-natal depression. Alongside that the Maternity Mentors also offer practical advice and support on looking after your new baby.

Support is provided in the woman’s own language and covers a wide variety of issues such as why they are finding it difficult to access health care, gaps in knowledge, issues surrounding poverty, poor housing and social isolation and will help them get referrals to other specialist services such as counselling, legal advice or ESOL classes. Women also get the chance to take part in peer support groups so they can share knowledge and experiences and build long-term social support.

For more information about the project contact Vanessa Aparicio-Hicox, Early Parenthood Manager (Mondays-Thursdays) on 0207 561 5297 or email Check out our Facebook pages.

If you want to refer someone to our service please use this form


Find out more about Manor Gardens Welfare Trust