£90,000 to help support expectant and new parents who just need that little bit extra help

Last year the Trust was delighted to award a £90,000 grant, over three years, to the FACES Bedford – Baby FACES project.

This innovation new project delivers services to local people who are in the transitional stages of becoming new parents and need additional support. These expectant parents typically have no extended family support or are maybe reluctant or unable to access universal services.

The Baby FACES service will be delivered by an experienced practitioner who will supervise a pool of specially trained volunteers to work with targeted expectant parents. The project expects to support over 414 people during the course of the three year project.

Parents will be referred to the service by professionals such as Midwifes, Health Visitors, Children’s Centre’s, the new Multi-Agency Locality Panels and also via Social Care. Parents will be seen in their own homes and support will be offered from 35 weeks gestation and until the baby is eight weeks old.

A Baby FACES Practitioner will assess the needs of the family and they will then be offered a tailored package of support in a timely, holistic and needs-led way. The support will include practical help such as help in dealing with a chaotic environment, breast feeding, nutrition advice, emotional support, transport to health appointments, budgeting and introducing families to universal services e.g. local Children Centre. Baby FACES families will receive regular review visits to establish how both the parents and baby are getting on. If there is still a need for support once the baby reaches eight weeks old, the family will be signposted into either the FACES traditional volunteer services or to external services.

In the words of Baby FACES, “The transition into parenthood can be a source of great joy, but also one of great anxiety. Pregnancy and birth of a baby is a critical window of opportunity when parents are especially receptive to offers of advice and support. Most mothers are discharged from hospital within hours of giving birth, irrespective of social circumstances. Once the new family are home, they receive just three visits from a Midwife and one from a Health Visitor. We know from experience that for families facing additional challenges such as poverty, relationship conflict, substance abuse and mental illness, a lack of support can negatively impact on how they bond with their baby. There is also documented evidence that such families require additional more intensive and coordinated support if they are to get off on the right track.”

FACES is a volunteer-led organisation which supports families who are under stress, many of whom find access to mainstream services difficult. FACES supports families by the provision of quality tested services in direct response to identified needs at the early stage when it can make the greatest difference.

To find out more about FACES and Baby FACES visit www.facesbedford.org