Failing Families: Health Visitor Clinic Closures

It’s been 8 years since I started NorthHantsMum in June 2011.

I’ve seen a lot of changes during that time. Unfortunately many of those changes have negatively impacted local families, especially Mums with babies and small children and families with SEN children.

Yesterday I saw that the Health Visitor clinic schedule has been changed again so that now the Drop In’s are only Monday at The Ridgeway Centre and Friday at the Discovery Centre. The others are by appointment only.

Many of the clinics that have been running for at least 8 years (I know because I used them) have now been cancelled, such as Christchurch Chineham, Overton, Hatch Warren, Whitchurch and Bramley.

I understand that we are living in times of “austerity” but why is it that families, especially Mums and young children, are targeted with any cuts first?

What you can do!!!

If, like me, you are pissed off/ fed up  (I don’t swear on NHM but I feel it’s appropriate in this instance!) with the way local families are being repeatedly let down then this is what you can do:

Specifically email ALL of the three people below and say why it matters to you that the Health Visitor clinics have been cut.

Please cc. me in any emails that you send (NorthHantsMum@gmail.com).

  1. Email the head of Southern Health: hp-tr.complaints@nhs.net
  2. Email Maria Miller: maria.miller.mp@parliament.uk
  3. Email your local councillor. You can find your local councillor here by using your postcode: https://democracy.basingstoke.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx

(You can copy and paste all of the emails from here: hp-tr.complaints@nhs.net;  maria.miller.mp@parliament.uk; NorthHantsMum@gmail.com)

Specifically tweet ALL of the three people below and say why it matters to you that the Health Visitor clinics have been cut:

  1. Tweet the head of Southern Health: https://twitter.com/NickBroughton4
  2. Tweet Maria Miller: https://twitter.com/MariaMillerUK
  3. Tweet your local councillors

The remaining clinics also have feedback forms, so please complete these as well.

Please make sure you add comments as to why it matters to you that the clinics have been cut as the way these things work is that individual letters/emails count more than group ones.

What to write about

You could write about how disappointed you are that so many clinics have been discontinued because they were so important to you when your baby was born as they were somewhere for you to go for support.

You could write about how annoyed you are that funding cuts are impacting new Mums and thus putting them at more risk of post natal depression.

You could write about how angry you are that new Mums and future new Mums are being failed by the services that are supposed to be in place to support them.

You could also write something similar to this which I’ve been sent by another local Mum: “in recent years in our area parents have lost specialised breastfeeding support when grant funding was not extended and have had closures of Children’s Centres (11 remain out of 64 in Hampshire I think). To say that support for parents has been decimated is an understatement. I understand that money is tight but the latest blow will affect those parents who are only just coping and in turn these women and children will need to access more services via their GPs for example or as mental health referrals. I consider these additional closures will knock on to the health and well being of ordinary families and will cost the whole system more in the long run. We were promised more Health Visitors in the call for action – instead it seems we have fewer with just a skeleton service remaining. I worry for those families who in the past would have got early support from a trusted Health Visitor – who now will go under the radar. If a GP visit costs around £45, a hospital overnight stay more like £500 and a child taken in to care around £50K per annum… we can see how cutting services for families to the bare minimum will soon knock on to these other budgets. We are calling for a joined up approach to services in the county.”

You can obviously write whatever you would like but please put why it matters to you that the Health Visitor Clinics have been cut.

On Social Media you could use the hashtag #FailingFamilies.

Summary of Closures

If you have a bit more time and feel like you really want to “go to town” on how local families are being let down, then please see my summary of closures and cancellations in the past 4 years….

2015

2016

(There is now direct evidence of how children’s centres saved the NHS millions of pounds: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/04/sure-start-saved-nhs-millions?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook&fbclid=IwAR38KyULT_ELrGweVxT_rNIHgJIK4RKL491e0MVUbcHjaVmsiC99gW3lRC8) Thank you to Danielle for sharing with me).

2017

  • 30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds, meaning many Mums are being forced back into working much earlier than they would want too.

2018

  • Closing of Little Play Town in Nov 2018
  • Manydown Family Fun Closed
  • Absolute Karting Basingstoke Closed
  • JJ’s (softplay) Closed
  • Beenham Wolf Sanctury Closed
  • Reduction of funding for school buses – August 2018
  • Removal of school buses for children with disabilities – August 2018
  • National Playday at Eastrop cancelled in 2018. This was a free day for children that had been running for years in Eastrop but now runs in a few of the local community centres instead. It’s not the same. At all.
  • Reduction in funding for the newborn courses at the remaining Children’s Centre, Westside – 2018
  • Cancellation of the EHCP process in Nov 2018 for SEN parents
  • Closing of ParentVoice and switching to Red Rose: https://www.hants.gov.uk/news/Nov27-SENDIASS
  • Changes to Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support in Hampshire

2019

  • Kids N Action Softplay Closed
(If there is anything that I have missed off this list, please let me know).

Impact of these changes

All of these changes are impacting many, many local families.

Even more so with the increase in housing of an extra 10,000 houses to be built in the local area by end of 2020, so more families are moving to the area but services are being reduced that don’t support existing families, let alone new families.

As I said above, I understand that we live in times of “austerity” but it’s very, very worrying and I try not to dwell too much on the impact these changes will have on my 8 year old daughter, her generation and future generations.

I try my best to be positive and upbeat on NHM but I think we need to try to do something to ensure that at least the Health Visitor clinics are better represented. Any help you can give with this will be greatly appreciated. If we ALL send the emails, the impact the NorthHantsMum Community could have would be huge!

Comments from other Mum’s

who have put it far more eloquently than I have!

Sarah: Sadly it Seems like this government would rather waste money hosting a £40million trump visit and push through brexit at any cost rather than look after it’s vulnerable citizens. After brexit more services like this will be cut as we will all be poorer – Apparently it’s “the will of the people”.

Genevieve: As well as writing letters, you may also wish to comment on Maria’s Twitter and Facebook accounts (or here https://www.facebook.com/159961377372565/posts/2184994638202552?s=532163237&sfns=mo – she’s very good at attending awards, not so good at helping people!).

Eleanor: Prevention is better than cure … health visitor clinics are so useful to local people in their own communities. Mums don’t think ‘oh I’m struggling, I know I’ll book a health visitor clinic’ they just keep struggling, until something breaks or nothing happens but just struggle.
I’m so sad to see the Bramley clinic cancelled. The stay and play sessions were so valuable to me. Sadly the funding is ridiculously short I presume. I’ll defiantly be emailing as you suggested. Taking away support for parents is only ever going to cause problems for parents and children in the future. Even if it’s the subtle kind of problems that don’t translate into hospital admissions etc.

Elisa: The unfortunate truth is that they are down on 5 full time health visitors for Southern Health. The reason they are not able to recruit is that most of their time is spent dealing with safe guarding issues. The role of the health visitor has sadly changed and nobody wants to do the type of work they are doing now. Add to this, the fact that the remaining staff are over worked and stressed, it’s not an environment anyone else wants to join.
So as desperately sad as it is about the decreasing availability of them, writing to anyone will sadly make no difference. The jobs are available but sadly nobody wants them ☹️.

Emma: When I had my first I could walk around to chiltern school and see a HV every other Tuesday. He was regularly weighed and as a first time mum I could ask all my questions. Fast forward 4 years and I had a prem baby. Zero support. I was told I’d have more contact because he was premature- I didn’t. When I went for weigh ins the HV’s didn’t all understand how to record his weight!! You have to plot it twice for actual and corrected. The library was the easiest one to get to but queues were horrendous and then you felt rushed because you could feel the strain. Needless to say I stopped going. It was too much effort with two children and with my baby being so little. I can’t believe they’ve reduced this even further. If I was a first time mum now I’d be very worried.

Wendy: Emma, such similar story, my first was weighed once a fortnight at first, then once a month in the Popley 5 drop in that was walking distance for all of Popley, Oakridge and South View. Then they moved it to Popley Fields for my second, no longer walking distance, not at a time that was convenient for nursery/school run. He got weighed about 4 times. He had eczema and allergies but going to the drop in meant missing out on other things or struggling with the car park, so we didn’t bother. Parking charges, town being busy, all things that would have put me off going to the library. I can only imagine what it’s like for those using public transport.

Angela: It’s thoroughly saddening to see such valuable support (emotional to individuals and economic to the wider public health system) being stripped away. I hope people remember this feeling of hopelessness during the next general election and vote for a party that is going to help the public. (I’m really sorry to make this political, but in the words of a great 90s rock band “everything’s political”. We have the power to choose a government that won’t strip the first line of support from us.)

Charlotte: It’s so sad. I used to work on a HV team and the work they do really cannot be underestimated. Yes, you can still see a HV without a clinic but as mentioned above, the clinic is such a convenient and quick way to see them, without having to book an appointment. Some parents don’t have to confidence to book an appointment, or they aren’t sure if they are wasting someone’s time (they never are wasting anyone’s time). I think the cutting down of these clinics alongside the closure of the children’s centres we really come back to bite the Government in a few years when there are increased social issues and late diagnosis of problems that could have been resolved with early intervention 😢.

Mary: To be a HV, you have to be a qualified nurse. They can’t find nurses because they cut the support for people to train. Lots of nurses stop nursing because its not compatible with being a parent unless you are lucky enough to work in a day service. Nurses, however, aren’t paid enough so free childcare is vital to contribute towards the cos. It’s more problematic that childcare support doesn’t start until age 3 so working parents have to struggle through age 1 and 2 first – or not work and then have to pay to reregister or train for their jobs. It’s all connected.

Nicole: I got my almost 3 month old weighed yesterday at Discovery Centre and I was shocked at how much it had changed since I took my first there in 2016. There was a queue out of the door to get in, and then you now weigh your baby and record it in your red book yourself. I didn’t need any support from the HV on this visit, but I’m not a healthcare professional and it would have been nice to just have them oversee it and my baby’s progress. To be honest I won’t be attending again. I feel sorry for the HVs because they look so stretched when you see them trying to get around the room, but most of them were extremely friendly and pleasant, and even found me a seat to feed the baby before I left.

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NHM Readers Recommend: Inspiring Presents for Father’s Day

In June 2018 I asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook “I’ve suddenly realised that it’s less than 2 weeks until Father’s Day….EEEKKK!!! It always sneaks up on me, every single year! So, I’m looking for inspiring presents for Father’s Day. Any suggestions?”

Many thanks for all your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Inspiring Presents for Father’s Day

Natalie said “Something World Cup football related??? The first England match conveniently happens to be the Monday after Father’s Day!”

Kate said “We can highly recommend Lisa and Phil’s Longdog Brewery Real Ales”

Marion said “Shabby Gourmet Curry”

Charlotte said “Got my partner matching Game of Thrones T-shirts for him and my 2year old boy off Etsy. Will be so cute!”

Tracey said “Paint a pottery gift at Pots to Doodle Do Cliddesden”

Stacey said “Lilliepads Delicious Delights 1kg Mixed sweetie boxes yummy treat. That’s what my hubby is getting with a goody bag of random other bits including men’s sliders, socks lol”

Wendy said “You give your child £5, take them to Poundland and hand them a basket, let them sort it out. Teaching life skills!”

Susie  said “https://www.my-picture.co.uk/ great quality canvas prints from photos & bargain prices too”

Ruza said “What about something for the man shed?”

Leah said Buyagift.co.uk, Notonthehighstreet.co.uk, Red letter days, Chocs, Socks, Red5.co.uk, Men-kind in town, Gadget shops lol”

Kirsty said “Racetrack tshirt The Personalisation Parlour

Mel said “The Home of Hearts Look at my Father’s Day collection for inspiration or give me the details and I will create a keepsake for you!”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Play Cafes and Cafes with Toys

I recently had a question from an NHM Reader that I asked the NHM Community to help with: “Does anyone know of any play cafes, or alternatively cafes that have entertainment/ toys for little children?”

Many thanks for your replies, 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: Play Cafes and Cafes with Toys

Hook Garden Centre

Tracy said “Hook garden centre has a nice play area and cafe.”

Lottie said “Love the garden centre in hook. “

Kelly-Lauren said “Hook Home & Garden Centre, Come along to my session there! Jiggy Wrigglers Basingstoke & Surrounding Villages

Little Roses Coffee Shop

Andy said “Little Roses on the road to tadley is neat.”

Catherine said “Little Roses at Elm Park Garden Centre have toys upstairs”

Katie said “Little roses at Elm Park garden centre has a little play area upstairs for children. And it’s usually fairly quiet.”

More of the Good Stuff

Catherine also said “ More of the Good Stuff in Dummer have a fenced off area within the tea room full of toys”

Ellie said “More of the good stuff at dummer farm has a lovely area”

Andrea said “More of the good stuff cafe in Dummer.”

Samantha said “More of the Good Stuff , Dummer ….. amazing cake and a secure play area for little ones.”

Active Tots

Emma said “Active Tots is good if your kids are under 5”

Sarah A said “Beware – they have to be under 4 and not higher than a meter. Was turned away by my taller than average just turned 4 year old when I had my 2 year old and 6 month old in tow”

Beggarwood Cafe in the Park

Lottie also said “Cafe in the park in beggarwood has lots of toys”

Andrea also said “Beggarwood community centre.”

Redfields Garden Centre

Lottie also said “Bit further but the treetops cafe at Redfields garden centre in fleet is lovely too”

Sarah S said “Redfields garden centre has a little play area in their treetops cafe upstairs”

Rosie and Bean Play Cafe

Michelle said “Rosie and Bean in fleet is fab!!! Worth messaging their Facebook to book a table as they are very busy in the mornings”

The Overton Coffee Shop

Kate said “The Overton Coffee Shop has children’s books/toys and a little table”

The Tea Bar

Abigail said “The Tea Bar in Basingstoke is a lovely independent coffee shop/cafe. They do all sorts of food and they have loads of toys for toddlers and kids to play with”

Wellington Farm Shop

Ruza said Wellington farm shop has an outside area with a great adventure house, some animals to look at and inside a small selection of toys and books for use.”

Proteus Creation Space

Stephany said “Proteus has a little toy corner”

Lasham Gliding Centre

Michelle also said “On a sunny day, Lasham Gliding Centre has a great play park, cafe/restaurant plus you get to see all the gliders and planes”

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Safe and Friendly Playgroups with a code word!

I think it was last week when there was a discussion on “Louise nhm Smith” about some new Mum’s feeling very intimidated at baby and toddler groups. I’ve put a bit more thought into the “code words” idea and have come up with the following. (Yes, I know it’s a bit cheeky using NHM in the “code words” but there have to be SOME perks to what I do here 😂😂😂).

The code words will be:

“NorthHantsMum sent me”

and when a new Mum says that to someone when she arrives, the organisers of that group will know immediately to take extra special care of her and ensure that she feels welcomed, etc.

If you run a local play group, toddler group or somewhere where Mum’s meet and would like to be included in the post that I am putting together of “Safe and friendly” local Mum groups, please drop me an email at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com.

Hopefully this will help those Mum’s who are new to local baby and toddler groups. Thanks!!

You can find more details for the playgroups and classes on the Activities pages on NorthHantsMum.co.uk.

Playgroups

Munchkins, Thursday 10-11:30 term time, sycamore centre, winklebury.

Basing Beans Lychpit Village Hall: Basing Beans, Lychpit Village Hall, Great Binfields Rd, Lychpit, Basingstoke RG24 8TF, Every Tuesday 10-11.30am, £2

Tuesday Tots: every Tuesday (term time) at Hall for all in Oakridge from 9:45-11:15am

Pop Up Play Village Basingstoke

Lynsey’s Little Stars parent,baby & toddler group – Old Basing

Classes

www.yogababes.co.uk

Jiggy Wrigglers classes in Basingstoke, Hook and Fleet.

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Review 2018: Cupper Joe – Pop-up Coffee Shop

Thank you very much to Juliet for writing today’s review post and thank you to Joe and El for letting us trying out their offerings!

Review 2018: Cupper Joe – Pop-up Coffee Shop

I got a little distracted whilst on holiday recently when Louise asked if anyone would like to review a pop-up coffee shop and brewing workshop (which is to follow, and I am VERY excited about this!). I politely said that I would love to whilst my inner child was shouting “me, me me!”. I am by no means an expert when it comes to coffee, but since having kids it has definitely become my go to place. I now get great joy out of sitting down (preferably!) for a good cup of tea or coffee and I was very intrigued to see what Cupper Joe had to offer.

About

Cupper Joe is a new speciality coffee service company offering a mobile pop-up coffee shop and coffee-brewing workshops. On Joe’s website, he writes “We’d like to bring amazing coffee (and other drinks) to the masses, so our focus is all on the quality of our ingredients, the care we take in producing our drinks and the service we offer to you. We work exclusively with speciality coffee roasters to bring the best coffee to you.”

The pop-up coffee shop I attended took place at Basingstoke Track Party, which meant that (thanks to the amazing train distraction) I actually got to try several hot drinks and finish them without little people around. It was lovely to meet Joe and his wife El from Cupper Joe and I’m looking forward to having more of a chat at the workshop. I’m not sure if I’m embarrassed or thrilled (probably both) that I managed to finish four drinks in that time!

There was a great selection of hot drinks available and I had two teas (New House Blend, Rhubarb and Custard), Callebaut Dark Hot Chocolate and a Mocha. I really enjoyed the New House Blend and loved that there was a really great selection of tea available. The mocha is my usual go to drink and I was amazed at how smooth it was, I am nervously writing that it could possibly be the best I’ve had (sorry R!). The hot chocolate – all I can say is if you have not tried Callebaut hot chocolate before, I really would recommend it!

So does Cupper Joe bring amazing coffee to the masses? In my humble opinion, absolutely!

I really must give a big shout out to Fudging El, not only for the awesome name, but also for the amazing handmade fudge that she makes. It tasted soooo good, I even convinced my other half to stray away from his usual banana preference to buy a packet of Chocolate Espresso. Other flavours available at the pop-up coffee shop were Banana and Cinnamon, Peanut Butter, and Coconut Lime and White Chocolate. I have also noticed a whole host of other amazing flavours on her Facebook page. El’s handmade fudge company works closely with Cupper Joe and is also available separately for events or retail.

Rating out of 5

5 out of 5. This has definitely been up there as one of my favourite reviews to carry out and I am now super excited about the pending brewing workshop. I suspect I will be eagerly looking out for Cupper Joe’s pop-up coffee shops, I have already pressed follow on the Facebook page. 

For further information, and to find out where Cupper Joe’s pop-up coffee shops will be in attendance, visit the Cupper Joe Facebook Page.

Disclaimer: This post is a review of a Cupper Joe – Pop up Coffee Shop. Juliet’s coffee was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. Juliet was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are her own.

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Half Term (Feb 2018) Activities at Pots to Doodle Do

Tuesday-Saturday 10-4 pm
Pottery painting, great time for Mothers Day (11th March) present making!
ALSO
Present making with CLAY!
Wednesday 14th February 10.30-12.30
Making ‘Love Mummy’ plaques and Jewellery dish.
£14 including drink and a snack!

Daddy and children painting sessions also available to give Mummy a break and to create a lovely painted present for her!

Call Tracey on 07900 692858 at Pots to Doodle Do! www.potstodoodledo.co.uk

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Review 2018: Pots To Doodle Do

Thank you very much to today’s NHM Secret Reviewer! She’s done a fab job!

Review 2018: Pots To Doodle Do

First of all, I haven’t been asked to review Pots to Doodle Do by anyone – I’m doing it as someone who booked to make some Christmas baubles and was so impressed and pleased with the results I wanted to share!

I booked in to Pots to Doodle Do after seeing a Facebook post about making decorations for the Christmas tree.  I have a toddler and a 4 month old and having been to various other places to do such things previously I thought I knew what to expect…..

How wrong was I?? I was slightly apprehensive about dealing with paint and a toddler while no doubt having to feed the baby (always happens doesn’t it?!) but Tracey could not have been more helpful! In other places we’ve just been left with the items we’ve chosen and the paint and got on with it – not this time, Tracey put the paint on the toddlers’ hand and the baby’s foot, stamped it onto the bauble then cleaned them up.  Sounds simple but I’m sure parents will understand where I’m coming from……….

We then had access to a huge array of paint, sponges, brushes and stickers to let the creative juices flow.  We were given a booklet with some photos of previous creations to give us direction if needed and Tracey made sure everyone got what they wanted from the experience, around to help if needed, checked on us and the progress but we didn’t feel rushed at all – a delicate balance it achieve!

The finished products were collected a week later and are brilliant – well worth the effort and importantly not expensive.

The location in Cliddesden is fairly simple to find and there’s parking by the village pond.  Once inside it’s warm and welcoming, there’s hot drinks and snacks available to purchase and Tracey goes out of her way to put you at ease (I was terrified of my toddler and ceramics……..)  By far the best experience of all so far!

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Free Life Insurance for One Year! (it’s true! no tricks, no selling anything, just free life insurance!)

Did you know new parents can have free life insurance for a year?? The details below are for the Post Office but there are lots of other insurers who administer this too!

https://www.postoffice.co.uk/life-cover/free-parent-life-cover

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ChillMAMA Pregnancy Meditation with Marie Behenna

If you are expecting a baby and need help to mentally prepare, as well as take time to connect with your growing baby, or even have a fear of what type of labour awaits you, the ChillMAMA Pregnancy Meditation with Marie Behenna is now available to download for just £2.99.

This 13 minute affirmation and mediation piece is on the same shorter version taught in Marie’s Basingstoke classes and written in her book The FitMama™ Method (Souvenir Press 2912)

Marie Behenna has helped 1000’s of women in the run up to giving birth, with fitness classes, one to ones, and meditation.

Download Links:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/chillmama/id1292661821?i=1292661832

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/6FJIoGcjlDc2HdCyh6ftZ7

Amazon: http://amzn.eu/jhvDlQw

CD Baby: https://store.cdbaby.com/m/cd/mariebehenna2

Follow this link to read about the live recording by producer Garry Webb of Prodbear: http://prodbear.co.uk/blog/

Best wishes

Marie Behenna

Director : Studio 41 Fitness Ltd

Founder & Author: The FitMama™ Method

www.fitmamastudio.com

Www.studiofortyone.co.uk

Tel:  01256 369 291

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