I have recently become a parent – what support is available to me?

In addition to the support offered by Midwives from the hospital, there are also local charities and voluntary groups that can offer emotional and practical support along your journey as a parent.

St Helens Family Information Service offers a whole range of free information for parents including childcare, accessing financial help, family services and activities.

The local branch of the National Childbirth Trust offers postnatal courses, play groups, second hand clothes/equipment sales and opportunities to meet and socialise with other parents in the borough to make friends, share experiences and offer emotional support. The NCT national helpline (0300 330 0700) also provides practical and emotional support in all areas of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.

Home-Start is the UK’s leading family support charity that aims to increase the confidence and independence of families. They can provide one to one family support through a matched volunteer, who are parents themselves and would spend three to four hours per week supporting a family in their own home. Home-Start also have a group called Jumping Jacks for parents and their children, held every Wednesday at Peter Street.

St Helens Wellbeing Service offer support with all aspects of infant feeding and solid foods. See www.sthelenswellbeing.org.uk for more information.

LIFE is a charity that provides help and support to people with pregnancy worries or men and women with parenting problems – they can offer free and confidential information, financial and practical help (e.g. baby clothes and equipment) and counselling to individuals or families. LIFE also have a national helpline (0800 915 4600) for confidential information and support.

Family Lives run a confidential helpline (0808 800 2222) called ParentPlus for information, advice, guidance and support on any aspect of parenting and family life. Support is also offered via Skype, e-mail, online chat and textphone.

Mumsnet is a pool of knowledge, advice and support for parents.

St Helens Chamber also run a programme called ‘Keep in Touch’ for young female parents between the ages of 16 and 19. The programme offers a variety of learning opportunities (e.g. qualifications and help with English, maths and IT) and assistance around being a young parent. For further information please contact Linda Seddon on [email protected] or 01744 670 276.