Caring for the health of mothers and their young children has been at the heart of Manor Gardens' services since we began in 1913 as a school for the mothers of North Islington. Nowadays our work has grown to encompass all aspects of pregnancy and early parenthood and so we have brought this work together as our Early Parenthood Programme.
Now into its second phase our Bright Beginnings service supports families in the first 1,001 days of their child. All the families come from a refugee or migrant background and the majority don't speak fluent English. Our bilingual Family Mentors help them navigate through the experience in their own language and set them on the journey to integrating into the wider community.
Some of the support on offer is around the pregnancy, birth, nutrition, working closely with health professionals and keeping well, but we also provide support in parenting, learning to play with your children, mental health, and engaging dads as well as mums. A vital aspect of our service is how we encourage peer support, particularly between the mothers, so that they can feel less isolated and form new friendships.
Another important service under this programme is Camden Blossoms, which supports Camden families who are experiencing issues with their mental health during the perinatal period. Our work with these families has helped them manage at this time of great transition through setting up peer support groups, activities, trained volunteers and our bilingual Family Mentors.
The Early Parenthood Programme also works closely with commissioners and maternity services to influence the ways in which service users can access mainstream services so that everyone receives a better experience.