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 ran Bright Beginnings, funded by the Big Lottery, for six years to support thousands of these women in North London through bilingual Mentors.
Our Family Mentors represent local refugee and migrant communities and their lived experience has proved important in gaining the trust women in their communities. They provided accessible and culturally appropriate drop-in groups, workshops and information so that pregnant women and new mothers received relevant information to give their baby the best start in life.
Over time it has become clear that many of the families we work with have significant and complex needs. Our Mentors are all experienced advocates and worked with their clients on topics such as difficulties in accessing health care, poverty, poor housing, domestic violence and social isolation. They referred to other specialist services such as counselling, legal advice or ESOL classes.The first three years of the project were evaluated by Healthwatch Islington. You can read the report here.
This project has now come to an end. If you need support for a client in Islington please use our referral form here.