NHM Readers Recommend: Support groups for babies with additional needs and epilepsy 2018

In August 2018, an NHM reader asked: “Are there support groups or meet ups for babies with additional needs and epilepsy in the area.”

Thank you for all your responses, please be aware that listings may change over time but this should still be helpful as a basis for your own research. All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

Support groups for babies with additional needs and epilepsy 2018

Wendy said, “May be worth asking Spotlight UK if they know of any others.”

Debbie said,HPCN Basingstoke Share Together  is a Facebook group which may help.”

Colleen said, “There’s Barntots SEN at Viables too. I second Debbie’s suggestion to ask on HPCN Basingstoke Share Together .”

Shirley said, “Hazie Days run by Marti Hayes .”

Louise said,  “New epilepsy group starting 28th August please do come along for a coffee and chat”


Clare said, “Yes! Lovely bunch of people supported by amazing staff  Tree tots at the Firvale centre in Rooksdown.

Every Wednesday 10-12. Term time

It’s free. Sensory room can be accessed. 

Aimed at 0-5yrs but some mums come by selves whilst children at nursery etc. Happy to answer any questions or meet you outside on 1st time trying it.”

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Warren Tots and Dinky Dancers, Hatch Warren Community Centre – What’s on in January

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NHM Reader’s Experience: Rectocele Surgery & Recovery

Thank you very much to today’s NHM Reader who is sharing some of her experience, especially with such a private subject. I really hope this post helps at least one Mum get the support that she needs.

Rectocele Surgery & Recovery

‘Some things are best kept private’ was something I truly believed. Until I faced major surgery, in an intimate area following seemingly a nice quick birth without complications some years ago.

When looking for stories about what it’s actually like to recover from pelvic floor surgery the web is polluted with tale of mesh, slings, multiple surgeries and failure.

Here’s my story, still ongoing, just one surgery, which involved lots of stitches and ‘designer vagina’ jokes but, how my life is changing as a result of this procedure.

This could have been kept private but given how it’s hard to talk about your lady bits openly, I decided to share my journey.

https://nakedtruthabout.blogspot.com/?fbclid=IwAR0aOl2IkMZsdWMIeb2Odl18PSqbXmDFSmZrbGbw4r26c0WtmoN6OduA14A

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The Band of HM Royal Marines Concert at the Anvil – 27th Jan 2019

The Rotary Club of Basingstoke Deane presents at the Anvil, Basingstoke:

The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines
 
Sun 27 Jan, 3pm
 
 

For some years Basingstoke Deane Rotary has been privileged to host The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. The concert will provide a wonderful two and a half hours of toe tapping, flag waving and ‘sing a long’ opportunities for great entertainment.

The music is mixed with great variety and previously has contained music from the movies, swing band, comedic pieces, popular classical songs often used on TV adverts and some good old-fashioned Patriotic tunes known by all generations.

The majestic full Concert Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, the Royal Corps of Drummers and special guests The Chelsea Pensioners, will again make this a very special event.  

A great opportunity to treat yourself and wash away the January blues.

All tickets are available through the Anvil booking office http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/whats-on/band-of-the-royal-marines

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Relax and harmonise with Thula Mama at The Salt Lounge for physical and mental well-being!

Hi, I’m Rebecca and I run a singing group called Thula Mama (pronounced ‘Tula Mama’) for mothers of bumps and pre-crawling babies. Thula Mama is a national franchise but this is the only group in this area. I’ve just teamed up with The Salt Lounge in central Basingstoke to run my sessions in their salt room, meaning that Thula Mama sessions now come with the added bonus of salt therapy!

In contrast to most musical groups for mothers and babies, the focus of a Thula Mama session is on the mothers and allowing them a chance to relax and unwind and do something for themselves. It offers mums an hour and a half of social time and provides both mothers and babies with the many benefits of soothing singing. Babies love listening to the sound of their mothers’ voices singing gently to them.

Refreshments are provided in the seating area at The Salt Lounge at the start of the session, in a comfy place to sit while you meet other mums and catch up.  We then move into the salt room which is furnished with easy chairs and where the floor is covered with salt – like a soft winter wonderland. During the next hour, we learn a mix of gentle lullabies and more upbeat songs from around the world with simple but effective harmonies. Singing in this way in a group creates a positive and peaceful atmosphere and has been proven to be great for mental well-being. Absolutely no experience is necessary! All are welcome and all the songs are taken at a gentle pace appropriate to the group. We also benefit from a salt therapy session in the salt room, which is helpful for breathing and skin conditions. Find out more at www.thesaltlounge.co.uk.

Sessions are every Thursday from 9:30am and costs £10 per session. Normally a salt therapy session is £30, so this represents excellent value for money! For details, please contact me on 07971 798945, email rebecca.cooch@gmail.com or visit www.Facebook.com/ThulaMamaBasingstoke. The first session is free. You can also find out more and listen at www.thulamama.co.uk .

Some recent reviews of Thula Mama:

“This is such a lovely group, so friendly and welcoming. You don’t need to be a great singer to join, the songs are great, so different and really fun. I find myself singing them all the time, this group is fantastic and Rebecca is so nice.” (Holly Wakefield, September 2018)

“I am so pleased I came across this group – it is something so different from the usual Mother and Baby classes, and it is a rare combination of doing something for your child as well as for yourself. The songs are different, some joyful, some soulful. My baby has loved attending and listening to the group – it is interesting how mesmerised the babies are!
…Thanks for a lovely time Rebecca – it has been my favourite activity with my baby this year.” (Amanda McKechan, November 2017)

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NHM Readers Recommend: Groups for Children with Hearing Loss

In November 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “I have recently had my 5 week old daughter diagnosed with moderate hearing loss and will be having hearing aids. I just wondered if there were any groups or organisations In the area for parents with children who have hearing loss!”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Groups for Children with Hearing Loss

Amanda said, “Chloe and Sophie’s special ears will be able to help – look them up, they are an amazing charity not far from Basingstoke.”

Luan said, “She could join the Basingstoke Voice group too as there may be advice for support on there.”

Rebecca said, “My son was diagnosed with a moderate hearing impairment at 6 weeks. He is 8 yrs old now and has had hearing aids since he was 6 months. My other son also has a hearing impairment and went through grommets and now has hearing aids. Happy to chat to this lady if she wants to message me.”

Sarah said, “There is a local group called the North Hampshire deaf children’s society. They have a Facebook page. There is also a toddler group run at park view infants by the specialist teachers for the deaf.”

Georgina said, “If she’s on instagram, Lucieandthebump has a son who is profoundly deaf and wears cochlear implants and their story may be of help.”  

Tina said, “I am a mum to an almost 5 year old daughter whom was born deaf and been wearing hearing aids since she was about 10/14 days old. There is a toddler group think it run monthly at Park View the teachers of the deaf run it.”

Samantha said, “My baby boy is 12 weeks and has been diagnosed with same condition he got his hearing aids last weekend so in the same boat as this reader, happy to be put in touch.”

Sarah said, “…the North Hampshire deaf children’s society and the toddler group at Park View were brilliant. Thankfully my sons hearing problems were due to glue ear and sorted by grommets but the year he wrote hearing aids I found both groups useful.”

Victoria said, “My daughter (almost three years) has one sided hearing. There is a wonderful group that is run by specialist teacher advisors for Hearing Impairment. It’s called- “Early years stay and play sessions” and they run once a month from Park View…”

Rebecca said, “Welcome to the emotional, scary but wonderful world of a child with a hearing loss. I second what Victoria said… The stay and play run at Park View is great. And North Hampshire Deaf children Society are a wonderful welcoming group. She’ll have a teacher of the deaf soon who will be able to give her lots of advice soon too.”

**Since this post was made, NHM has set up the Facebook group NHM Supporting those with hearing loss/Deafness**

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Help Spotlight UK!!

Hello, we are in need of help. As a charity Spotlight has been running from the old Chineham Park Primary for 9 years but sadly for us Hampshire need the building back to be able to use it to turn it into a Special Needs School which is so needed in our area.

We are very grateful to Hampshire for all of the support they have given us over 9 years however this means in April this year we need to move and find another venue for our charity work.

We currently run a food bank, clothes bank, charity shop, 1-2-1 youth mentoring, performing arts classes, holiday clubs, youth club, family support service.

We work with families on child protection or children in plans, children affected by domestic abuse, or neglect/emotional abuse, young carers, children in care, young people with mental health issues, young people who have experienced loss or separation, young people caught up with anti social behaviour and children who need help with confidence and self esteem or friendships and those who want to have fun.

We receive referrals from schools, social workers, the Early Help and Family Support Service, Health Visitors and other professionals. Currently we provide 355 spaces in performing arts a week, over 200 spaces in our after school club, 60 cases of youth mentoring and family support work and provide around 15-25 food parcels a week.

We are now needing to raise funds to be able to relocate our services so we can keep supporting those we work with. We have a potential venue to relocate to but need to secure a deposit and need to raise around £10000.

If anyone can help with fundraising or knows of premises then please contact us on 01256 325420 or admin@spotlightuk.org. Any help would be gratefully received.

The Spotlight Team

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A NHM Readers Experience: Cranial Osteopathy

Thank you VERY much to the NHM Reader who has shared their experience of cranial osteopathy today. Hasn’t she done an awesome job!! Hopefully this post will help lots of other new parents!! 

If you have a unique parenting experience that you would like to share with other NHM Readers, in the hope that your experience might help others, please email me your text and pictures to NorthHantsMum@gmail.com. 

What is Cranial Osteopathy?

Cranial osteopathy is not different to osteopathy, it is the name given to a subtle and refined approach to osteopathy that follows all the principles of osteopathy, and it is used throughout the body not just in the head. The name cranial osteopathy simply refers to the fact that it includes the structures inside the head. 
Cranial osteopaths use a highly developed sense of touch to feel subtle changes of tension and tissue quality in the living anatomy of the whole body, and to diagnose areas of strain or dysfunction. – Sutherland Cranial College of Osteopathy

NHM Reader Experience of Cranial Osteopathy

I write this not as an expert in Cranial Osteopathy but from the perspective of a mum of three.

I’ve got an eight year old, a four year old and now a three month old. My oldest had colic and reflux, my second had silent reflux and my newbie had very bad colic. I’m not sure whether everyone’s minds erase the hard bits of when they’re newborn so that you want more, or if it’s just me, but when my youngest came along, and started suffering from colic, the memories all came flooding back!

It was horrendous to see this sweet, little, placid thing be in extreme pain with her tummy; she would look at me like ‘please make this better’ and it would break my heart. We tried every colic medicine we could, one of which helped a tiny bit but did not get rid of it.

Evening after evening I would be pacing and rocking, trying to help my baby feel better. One night at 1 in the morning I decided to research what could help her, someone suggested a cranial osteopath could help. Reading more into it I saw it said that a stressful birth and c-sections can contribute towards colic and that cranial osteopathy could help. Not going to lie, I was sceptical… how could this help with my baby’s colic? Desperate to make her feel better though I booked a session.

The following week I arrived and had the first consultation. The lovely lady told me that my LO was very stiff around one side and this was probably from being in that position in the womb, this made sense to me as she was always looking to one side and hardly ever upwards. When she felt her, she said the fluid around the brain was supposed to be a smooth motion but it was ‘crashing’ against the side that was stiff. She sat with her hands barely touching my baby for about 20 minutes and told me she was hopeful it would help. However, for 15% of babies it doesn’t work, and if that was the case not to come back – I appreciated she said this as she clearly wasn’t after my money.  She said hopefully it would go away and that I’d see changes within 24 to 48 hours which should last a couple of days, and then would probably go back to normal colic.  She also said that if there was a change, we should come back for another session the next week, and that with two more sessions it would be a permanent change.

I went away thinking ‘wow that was an expensive half an hour when it didn’t look like she did much!’ That day was awful… she was beyond unhappy until 7.30, but she did two horrendous nappies which was very rare as she normally couldn’t poo! The lady had told me this would happen… she also settled much earlier that evening, but I assumed it was because of how she’d been awake and unhappy since 11 in the morning! The true test would be the next evening.

The next day after every feed, my LO burped much louder and easier than normal, something else the lady said would happen. Then the time where she would normally be beside herself came and went with a happy baby that wanted to eat, play and then sleep. That night she fed about 6.30 then to my absolute shock slept until 1, had a quick feed then went back down beautifully until I had to wake her at 8.30 for the school run!!! I couldn’t believe it, it must be a fluke, but no it continued for four days.

My baby was no longer in pain and was not waking continuously for milk to try make her feel better. Like the lady said the colic came back so I couldn’t wait for the next session. She did exactly the same thing – which looks like she’s not doing anything! After the first day of her clearing her system again I had a happy, content baby who either slept through the night or woke once for a feed… This lasted for 6 nights. I then had her last session and the lady told me that would be it and she should be fine now. I couldn’t really understand how this was possible but she was right!

It’s been three weeks since her last session and since then my baby doesn’t have colic anymore. I can honestly say it’s been money well spent. I couldn’t have even dreamt how much of a difference it would make. I thought I’d share my story as I wish that someone had told me about a cranial osteopath eight years ago… it would have saved a lot of heartache and pain with my other two children. The lady said that the NHS is looking into funding an osteopath to work in postnatal wards so that every baby born can be looked at, she said if that happened it would stop so many babies being in unnecessary pain. I hope this happens as it feels like a miracle and would help so many babies and their carers.

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Review 2018: Oh no you didn’t!!!! A Review of “Snow White & the Seven Dwarves” at The Anvil

Written by Victoria Kennedy, Thefairyclothesmother.com (thank you VERY much Victoria for the awesome review!!! 

About

Snow white: http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/snow-white

When offered the chance to attend the Christmas Panto at The Anvil, Basingstoke, I jumped at the chance. Many of my fond childhood memories are of attending the local panto! Panto’s are guaranteed family fun! And this one didn’t disappoint! There was plenty of audience participation- from song and dances, sweetie-chucking and water pistols to the traditional panto villain ‘boo’s’ and comedy slapstick of ‘He’s behind you’.

The Anvil Arts centre is an award winning concert hall, with amazing acoustics and an international reputation. The beautiful set design had the children captured from the beginning. With special effects such as indoor pyro- there were plenty of mesmerised faces!

A special mention has to be given to ‘Nurse Dolly’s’ wardrobe (I am a stylist after all! ). She had some absolutely stunning dresses, each unique and I would have loved the opportunity to study each in great detail! Take a look for yourself:

Snow White was played by Dani Harmer, of CBBC fame. She played the character well and her gentle, ‘girl next-door’ manner soon had the audience on side.

The Wicked Queen, played by Kirsty Sparks, was both terrifying and utterly lovable at the same time! The stars of the show, form y 5 year old son, was Muddles, played by Chris Pizzey (Basil Brush’s Mr Stephens). His jokey character got the children on side meaning audience participation was full on! The jokes had the kids roaring with laughter, creating a fantastic atmosphere. There was even a subtle ‘dad joke’ or two!

Personally, I loved the dwarves. Each played to their name sake well, with names carefully adapted so not to gain the wrath of Disney! They were both cheeky and lovable!

The show runs until 6th January with both matinee and evening performances- get your tickets here: http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/your-visit/how-to-book/online-booking-information?ticketing_id=A8PE

http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/your-visit/how-to-book/online-booking-information?ticketing_id=A8PE

Tips

Take ear defenders for children who are bothered by loud noises, as there are a few loud bangs. Also there is (without ruining the surprise) a brief moment involving water & the audience, if this is something that could bother your child ask at the info desk for the timing of the ‘stunt’ so you can be ready!

‘Flashy’ wands and the like are for sale but we took our own from previous events. This was allowed and certainly saved a small fortune as well as reducing our plastic consumption.

Dressing up was encouraged- there were many mini snow whites in the audience!

Food

There is a selection of treats –  sweeties, ice cream, crisps on sale at the venue. However, as a huge cost saver I’d recommend taking your own! The show is 2 hrs 35 min long so a drink will most definitely be needed. There is also a bar available.

Facilities

The Anvil is fully accessible to wheelchair users, and pushchairs. There are facilities for baby changing. The audience was a real mix of ages, so babes-in-arms are certainly welcomed. There is a bar onsite for refreshments.

Parking

The Anvil is easily accessed from any of the town centre car parks and just a 2 min walk from the train & bus station.

Prices

This is my only point of contention. The cost of a family visiting the theatre is becoming massively out of reach for many families. Unfortunately this is something that is happening with the panto too. At £28 per adult and £25 per child – a cost of over £100 for a family of 4 it means a big majority miss out. The Anvil does offer group rates, and discounted tickets to local schools.

Ratingout of 5

4 a great afternoon of family fun, with laughter, cheers, boo’s and song! Plus the most wonderful panto dame costume!!!

All images courtesy of Anvil Arts

Disclaimer: This post is a review of “Snow White Seven Dwarves and the  in conjunction with The Anvil. Victoria’s tickets were supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. We were not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are our own.

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Review 2018: Basingstoke Canal Santa Cruise

Thank you very much to W for today’s NHM Secret Review!! She’s done a brilliant job! 

If you would like to be a NHM Secret Reviewer, please get in touch. Thanks! 

Review 2018: BasingstokeCanal Santa Cruise

Helping out with NHM articles that past couple of years I have gained quite a lot of knowledge about local Santa and Christmas experiences and this year I finally got to experience the stuff of local Christmas legend, the Basingstoke Canal Santa Cruise.

About

Each year, in late September/early October the Basingstoke Canal visitor centre opens up early to take bookings for their Santa Cruises. 

Tickets go fast and bookings can only be made in person or by phone so be prepared to spend a lot of time pressing redial. 

One friend did decide to drive there one year to guarantee her spot by booking it in person, but I persevered with the phone and finally got through at around 11am on the first day of booking. 

Their advice is to have a few dates in mind, especially if you want an evening or weekend, and also have the names and ages of children attending ready. 

In 2018 the evening experiences cost £15.50 per person, weekend day times were £15 and weekday day time were £12.  In December 2018 they ran six cruises a day and all but two cruises were sold out. 

Fast forward to a very cold night in mid-December when I arrived at the centre in Mychett, with my four year old and almost eight year old and waited outside for our boat. 

The area outside the centre had been dressed with Christmas lights and we were greeted by a giant inflatable Santa.  

Facilities whilst waiting were basic, access to toilets and a bench to sit on inside an area normally used for changing, so dress for the weather and don’t leave your car too early. 

We boarded the last boat of the day at 7pm.  There are twelve people per cruise, including adults, our cruise had five children on board.  After boarding the boat our guide asked the children to look out for Christmas lights and let her know when they saw them. 

We cruised up the canal for about 10 mins, when we arrived at our jetty and got off the boat everyone was given a torch. 

The guide then asked the children to look out for the red tinsel which would guide them to Santa, we followed the red tinsel through the dark woods until we found Santa’s grotto. 

Santa’s grotto was a yurt, beautifully decorated for Christmas. 

Inside we all sat on hay bales as we waited for Santa to wake up, once he did he chatted with us all as a group first before looking up names in his book and chatting individually to each child for a few minutes. 

He adjusted his chat accordingly to the age and personality of the child and afterwards we sang a few songs, he then gave out gifts to each child, which already had their names on. 

We were in the yurt for about 20 minutes.  After we said goodbye to Santa we used our torches to find the silver tinsel that would guide us back out of the woods and back on to our boat where we opened our gifts, good quality, age appropriate books. 

We then cruised back to the centre where we did some colouring whilst enjoying mince pies or chocolate bars and hot drinks, all included in the price.  We left the centre at around 8.20pm.

Rating out of 5

We do a few Santa and Christmas experiences each year and this was a really lovely event, unlike anything we had done before and perfect for restoring the magic for my doubting older son. 

The boat and the canal centre are practical rather than luxury but the uniqueness of the occasion and the enthusiasm of the guides and Santa, really made this feel special.  None of the children became bored, with each activity taking the right amount of time. 

All the food was branded with allergy information easily available but it would be fine to take your own if you needed to. 

The experience was really good value for money and suitable for all ages, although I think older children would really prefer the after dark cruises. 

Highly recommended. 

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