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The hands of a mother and her child.
The hands of a mother and her child.

Improving the health and wellbeing of young mums

Families Like Us aim to work with isolated and disadvantaged families to offer workshops and activities to build on their parenting skills, improve self-confidence, self-esteem and to raise aspirations.

Families Like Us aims to provide support to single and lone-parent families living in the Larkhall area.  The Centre offers a creative play area and café where parents can meet, relax, and get to know each other better and access drop-in support and new learning opportunities such as advice on soothing upset children, learning through play and reading to children.  They aim to work with isolated and disadvantaged families to offer workshops and activities to build on their parenting skills, improve self-confidence, self-esteem and to raise aspirations. 

A grant from the Volant Charitable Trust enabled them to employ a new part time Health and Wellbeing Project worker to help women develop their confidence and self-esteem, be less isolated, and overcome feelings of loneliness with one to one and group work sessions. 

With support from this grant, the female focus group continue to meet monthly with 15 members exploring topics including healthy eating, sexual health and contraception, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques, as well as social events. One mum has also established a popular activities night for ASN kids who now meet every Tuesday night.  

The play café provides a nurturing environment for families and for young women to gain valuable work experience.  In the final year of this award placements were offered to six young women in the cafe, all of whom have progressed to employment or college. 

Beth, a regular visitor to the café, came in with her young son and new baby daughter.  As a staff member was congratulating her on the birth of her daughter, Beth became upset.  The staff member sat with her, and Beth explained she was really struggling since the birth of her daughter.  Her relationship was breaking down, the father had moved out, and she couldn’t stop crying.   

Staff recommended she visit her GP as soon as possible.  Three days later Beth returned and told staff she had been diagnosed with post-natal depression and prescribed medication. She had concerns about taking medication in case they affected her ability to parent, but the GP reassured her she would be fine.   

Staff suggested Beth use the café regularly to receive support and assistance until she felt better able to cope.  Beth visited every day for two weeks, and in that time the improvement was vast. By the third week her visits had reduced, and her husband had returned home.  Now Beth is back to regular weekly visits, and Families Like Us are looking forward to holding her son’s birthday party at the café soon.     

On another occasion a staff member noticed a young mum with a baby outside the café, having passed several times.  The staff member went outside and invited the mum in as she seemed in some distress.  After some time the mum, Maria, explained English was her second language as she was originally from Romania.  Maria was struggling to cope with her 9-month-old son and feeling incredibly home sick and isolated.  She also reported issues at home with her partner and fear of repercussions if she sought help.  Maria was unclear of her rights and fearful for her safety.  The staff member reassured her, gave her the number for women’s aid and provided a private space for her to contact them.   

They also recommended Maria register with a GP.  She was afraid her partner would accuse her of being unfit to be a parent if he knew she visited a doctor, but staff assured her any medical advice would be confidential and if questioned she could say she was at Juniors, their service for young children.  Maria stayed that day for a further hour and received lunch and support from staff.  The following day Maria returned and said she had visited her GP and been diagnosed with depression.  She had contacted Women’s Aid and they advised on her right to travel with her son as she expressed a wish to visit her family in Romania. Maria had discussed this with her partner, and he agreed it would be beneficial to all. The following week, Maria booked to return to Romania with her son and her partner joined them after the first week.   

Several weeks passed and Maria returned to Juniors looking vastly improved from her first visit.  She had been home, spent time with her family, and felt ready to return to Scotland.  Both Maria and her partner felt they benefited from the break and have sought relationship counselling to improve their situation.  Families Like Us continue to see Maria and her son regularly and are pleased their situation has greatly improved.