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 (

  1. Email the head of Southern Health:
  2. Email Maria Miller:
  3. Email your local councillor. You can find your local councillor here by using your postcode:

(You can copy and paste all of the emails from here:;;

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:
  2. Tweet Maria Miller:
  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….



(There is now direct evidence of how children’s centres saved the NHS millions of pounds: Thank you to Danielle for sharing with me).


  • 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.


  • 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:
  • Changes to Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support in Hampshire


  • 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 – 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.

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Breastfeeding Support: Hampshire Breastfeeding Counselling

Breastfeeding support from professionally trained breastfeeding counsellors in Hampshire – no appointment necessary.

Every Monday, 10 – 11.30am (closed bank holidays)
Blue Room, Sherborne Building, Basingstoke Hospital RG24 9NA

Every Monday, 1pm – 2.30pm (closed bank holidays)
Cutbush Children’s Centre, Cutbush Lane, Townhill Park, Southampton, SO18 2GF

Every Tuesday 10 – 11:30am (NCT run)
NEW venue same service The Maternity Centre, Andover War Memorial Hospital, Charlton Rd, Andover SP10 3LB

Every Tuesday 9:30 to 11:00 (NCT run)
The Salvation Army Church and Community Centre, 85 Whites Way, Hedge End, SO30 2GL

Every Wednesday 9:30am – 12pm (NCT run)
Lantern’s Children’s Centre, Bereweeke Rd., Winchester SO22 6AJ

Every Thursday, 9.30am – 11am
Baby Café at The Ashby Centre, Stratton Rd, Southampton, SO15 5QZ

Every Friday 10-11.30am (NCT run)
Brookvale Village Hall, Lower Brook St, Basingstoke, RG21 7RU

If you need phone support the National NCT Breastfeeding Helpline is open every day including bank holidays. 0300 300 0700 (8am to midnight every day of the year).

NCT Breastfeeding Counsellors are paid to work on the line and are happy to cover the bank holidays too, so are waiting for your call. If you have to leave a message, calls are generally returned within 2 hours. Any questions about opening hours please message us on Facebook and we will get back to you. 

Last Updated: September 2018

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Secret Art Basingstoke is GO!

Something pretty amazing happened last Thursday in Basingstoke. Maybe you heard about it. Maybe you were there. Maybe you saw the Facebook Lives and thought “Man, I WISH I was there”. Well, yes, you should have been there. Because it was AWESOME!  

The Secret Art Basingstoke launch at Desklodge on Thursday night was epic, and you can check out all the gory details via the latest Secret Art Basingstoke blog. But in the meantime…

Today (Tuesday 24th) is the first opportunity for you to visit all four venues in our Secret Art Basingstoke trail. Grab the kids and head for Proteus Creation Space, The Discovery Centre, THAT Gallery and Willis Museum to see over 200 incredible pieces of artwork.

Each piece is the size of a postcard, and everything has been donated by artists, illustrators, tattooists and celebrities…even an MP! And if you grab one of our flyers (available at Proteus, Discovery Centre, Willis Museum and Festival Place Customer Lounge), you can also take part in The Junior Secret Art Basingstoke Scavenger Hunt; use the map to find the venues and tick off the eight hidden postcards as you find them.

Want more? Book onto one of our workshops being held over the next two weeks, designed to give your budding artists an introduction into a variety of art techniques.

Choose a 30 or 45 minute workshop in ceramics, illustration, collage, balloon manipulation or portraiture…or sign up for them all!

All workshops are Pay-What-You-Can, with a suggested donation of £3 per child. Head to the Secret Art Basingstoke website for details of all the workshops and how to book.

More? OK, how about our Junior Secret Art Basingstoke competition? Finding all our fantastic pieces of postcard sized art will hopefully get your little ones all fired up to create their own masterpieces, and we’d love to see them!

Let them loose on the blank space at the back of the Secret Art Basingstoke booklet, or use your own materials at home. There’s no brief in terms of subject or medium, so let their creativity go wild!

Upload to the Secret Art Basingstoke Facebook page with #secretartkids and they’ll be entered into the competition to win some beautiful books donated by Pan Macmillan Publishers.

Seriously? More? How about the culmination of all the canvassing, collating, fundraising, engaging, displaying, donating etc…Sale Day! If you’ve got your eye on one or more of our pictorial perfections, head to Proteus Creation Space on Saturday 4th August, when all postcards will be on sale for £20 each.

Not only will you be able to purchase a beautiful piece of original art, you’ll also finally find out who created it! The big secret behind Secret Art Basingstoke being, of course, the artists themselves.

All the artwork has been signed on the back, not the front, but when you purchase your piece you’ll be given the identity of your creator.

It could be a local artist (Hampshire is a goldmine of creativity), someone who hails from abroad (we’ve had submissions from as far away as Indonesia), a published illustrator, or perhaps a celebrity from TV and film. It really is anybody’s guess!

Doors will be opened at 10am at Proteus Creation Space by The Deputy Mayor, Cllr Diane Taylor. You might want to get there early, as it’s first come, first served; there’s even been talk of folks camping out the night before to grab a prime spot in the queue!

There will be no pre-selling of postcards, so if you’re unable to come on the day but still want a card, nominate yourself a proxy buyer (preferably one with sharp elbows).

Ok. I think that’s it. Phew.

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Bubbly, Bertie and Boob Cake… It’s the Secret Art Launch Party!

Tickets are now available for the launch party of the inaugural Secret Art Basingstoke on 19th July at 7pm at Desklodge in Belvedere House, Basingview – come join us!

Thanks to the kind people at Desklodge who have donated their space for the evening, we’ll be drinking bubbly and catching the first sneaky peak at the entire postcard collection before anyone else in this see-it-to-believe-it space; there’s a beach, a Zen room – there’s even a Narnia Wonderland hidden behind a wardrobe!

We’ve also got a few delicious extras (aside from the delicious canapes);

Special Guest Bertie Carvel

We’re very excited to have Bertie Carvel with us to kick off our charity auction! Bertie has twice won the Laurence Olivier Award: for his performances as Miss Trunchbull in Matilda the Musical and Rupert Murdoch in Ink. On television, he is known for playing Jonathan Strange in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and as Simon, the cheating husband, in Doctor Foster.

Charity Auction

We’ve got tons of fabulous lots, including top price Warhorse tickets, photo shoots with award winning Studio 1314 and Basingstoke’s very own Cristina Barton, miniature portraits by Jocelyn Lawman and a family pass to The New Forest Wildlife Park. Check the website for details of all the lots as they come in.

Art Demonstrations – Watch local artist Fatima Pantoja (from the ‘Sitting with Jane’ project) demonstrating her portraiture skills, and then sit for a quick portrait!

Live Music – Pianist Thomas Barfoot will keep us entertained all evening.

Boob cake – It wouldn’t be an NCT event without it! Cakes by Chris has created a boobilicious cake – each boob a different flavour!

Goodie bags – For the first 20 guests through the door.

Early Bird ticket £5 (prosecco and canapes on arrival)
General Admission £10 (prosecco and canapes on arrival)
Corporate ticket £100 (6 seats at dedicated table, canapes and bottle of prosecco)

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Party with Baby Sensory and Toddler Sense!

Spaces still available

Got a new baby and fancy giving Baby Sensory a try? Or perhaps you have a toddler and want to wear them out in a Toddler Sense session? Join us for a party session on Saturday 7th July in aid of B.A.B.I.E.S!

The incredibly busy and ridiculously talented Michelle Grzbiela is offering three fantastic 45 minute sessions to raise funds for Basingstoke breastfeeding support. There will be two classes aimed at babies from birth to 13 months (10am and 11am), and one mixed session (12 noon) aimed at children 13 months to five years (younger siblings welcome at a discounted rate).

The sessions will be at Hatch Warren Community Centre at 10am, 11am and 12 noon.




Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Fancy Being a Secret Artist?

Last week NHM let you in on our little secret, and now we’d like you to become part of that secret!

If you didn’t know already, Secret Art Basingstoke is an exhibition and sale taking place from 23rd July until 4th August 2018.

The collection will be made up of hundreds of postcard sized works of art, donated by artists, illustrators, celebrities, community members and graduates.

And the secret? All our artists will remain anonymous until their artwork is purchased, with all pieces being up for grabs for £20 each.

Our Secret Artists will be displayed in a two week exhibition trail around Basingstoke – THAT Gallery, Proteus Creation Space, Willis Museum and The Discovery Centre.

Alongside the exhibition we’ll be running a junior art competition, a scavenger hunt and art demonstrations and workshops, so it’s going to be busy! We’re also going to feature on Hampshire TV and in Hampshire Life, so potentially great exposure for local artists!

The submissions deadline of 13th July is fast approaching, so you need to be quick!

For information, including FAQs and registration form, head to

Questions? Message us at

All proceeds from the exhibition and sale will benefit the Brookvale breastfeeding counselling drop in service.

Lindsey Lawman
Fundraising Coordinator
Basingstoke NCT

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!

Secret Art Basingstoke

Have you heard about Secret Art Basingstoke?

I’m not really one for inspirational Pinterest quotes. But I read one today that resonated;

Mothers who reach their breastfeeding goals are “lucky”, but not because they had no problems. They were lucky to be given accurate advice, practical support, and not just told to give up. Mothers don’t fail to breastfeed. Society fails to support them to do so.

Double negatives aside, I like this message because it doesn’t subscribe to;

a) Making people feel guilty for circumstance outside of their control.
b) Pitting mothers against mothers in the supposed breastmilk vs formula ‘war’.

I’m all for helping society support women to breastfeed, which is why I’m coordinating Secret Art Basingstoke, exclusively raising funds for NCT Basingstoke breastfeeding support.

Taking place between 23rd July and 3rd August 2018, Secret Art Basingstoke is an exhibition of hundreds of postcard-sized original works of art donated by artists, celebrities, dignitaries, graduates and illustrators. With no brief in medium or subject, the collection promises to be an eclectic mix of small but perfectly formed paintings, drawings and photographs.

The two week exhibition will be split across four spaces in Basingstoke town centre; THAT Gallery, Proteus Creation Space, The Discovery Centre and The Willis Museum (all hire costs have been generously waived by our venues – thank you all!). Our artist buddies from THAT Gallery will be holding art demos and workshops at the various locations to keep your little artists occupied, AND we’ll be running a scavenger hunt and junior postcard competition. Make sure you pop us on your list of ‘things to do during the summer holidays’ to be in with a chance of winning some beautiful prizes (kindly donated by Macmillan Publishers).

The entire collection will reunite at The Creation Space on Saturday 4th August, where every single postcard will be on sale for the affordable price of £20 each.

And the secret? The identity of the artist – you’ll only know who created your miniature masterpiece once you’ve bought it.

For a chance to get a sneak peek at the entire collection before everyone else, we’re holding a launch night on 19th July at Desklodge Basingstoke (venue kindly donated by Desklodge Ltd). The evening will include live music, art demonstrations and a charity auction with some AMAZING lots. Details and tickets will be available very soon – stay tuned!

If you have any questions regarding Secret Art Basingstoke, including how to becoming one of our sponsors, please head to, or drop us a line at

About NCT B.A.B.I.E.S

B.A.B.I.E.S is Basingstoke’s dedicated weekly breastfeeding counselling drop-in, providing evidence-based, impartial information, help and support. Fully qualified (DipHE) Breastfeeding Counsellors hold face to face drop-in sessions fifty weeks of the year, as well as offering telephone and email support. This service is completely free, and available to all parents and their children in Basingstoke. Since its inception in 2011, B.A.B.I.E.S has supported over 1000 parents. For more information on breastfeeding support in Basingstoke, including directions and opening times for B.A.B.I.E.S, head to the Hampshire Breastfeeding Counselling Facebook page.

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

‘Juglife’ – One Night Only

The poster for new theatrical project ‘Juglife’ is pretty eye-catching. It features two topless women, save for a well-placed sippie cup, a Hooters mug, a breastfeeding doll and a man’s hand (whose hand?!) Lindsey Lawman and Stacy Hart are pretty brave. Either that, or they’re keen to sell tickets. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that it’s hard to ignore. And that’s just how Lindsey and Stacy like it.

Juglife is a brand new verbatim play focused solely on the subject of breasts. And before you ask, no, they will not be performing topless. As Lindsey Lawman points out:

“Naked boobs tend to draw focus away from what you’re saying. Or the fact you’re speaking at all. So we’ll definitely be wearing clothes.”

If you didn’t know already, verbatim theatre is based on the spoken words of real people. Having put the call out on social media for women interested in discussing the topic of knockers, Lindsey and Stacy trekked across the country recording their stories. From those interviews, the pair have created an evening of monologues, taking a light-hearted look at the trials and tribulations of boobs; tales of loving them and hating them, gaining them and losing them, and everything in between. The results have been surprising, illuminating, and occasionally heartbreaking. Lindsey Lawman explains:

“Breasts are body parts like elbows or knees. But unlike elbows and knees, they carry a host of narratives which (can) inform a woman’s entire identity. Breasts are sexual, comforting, funny, intimidating, offensive, limiting, nurturing, dangerous. They can be a source of anxiety, of confidence, of pleasure, and of pain. The women we have spoken to have been brutally honest about the impact their breasts have had on their lives. There was a lot of laughter (one women spoke about her enviable ability to breastfeed herself!) But there were also times when our hearts ached listening to stories of crushingly low self-confidence, of defeat, of loss. We are so tremendously grateful for their bravery in sharing their stories, and we have no doubt there will a real sense of shared experience among the audience.”

That’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom – far from it. Lindsey and Stacy say they’re keen to step away from the oft repeated headline of ‘breast shaming’, and instead want to celebrate the complexity of the female experience through the wonderfully fleshy lens of boobs.

Performed at The Tea Bar as part of The Basingstoke Festival ‘Discover Art in Unusual Places’ (, Juglife won’t feel like the usual piece of theatre. The audience will be sat at tables (with crucial access to the bar to sample the specially created breast-inspired cocktails!) as the actors perform not on a stage, but from within the crowd. Alongside the monologues will be a little bit of boob bingo (who knew there was 100 words for breasts?) and a rack raffle (with appropriately themed boob prizes). A percentage of the evening’s proceeds will go to help support NCT Basingstoke breastfeeding support.

When they are not raising tiny humans or performing, Stacy heads up the Basingstoke branch of the Women’s Equality Party, and Lindsey works as fundraising co-ordinator for Basingstoke NCT. As part of a series of fundraising events for the breastfeeding drop-in (or B.A.B.I.E.S – Babies And Breastfeeding, Information, Encouragement, Support) ‘Juglife’ is swiftly followed by Secret Art Basingstoke, a postcard art exhibition and sale taking place between 23 July and 4 August.

You can see ‘Juglife’ at The Tea Bar, Basingstoke on June 20 at 7.45pm. Tickets (£7), available to purchase online at

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

NHM Readers: Hampshire Doulas

Louise recently asked “I’m currently working on a post about local Doula’s. Do you have any recommendations of local Doula’s that you have met and “worked” with? TIA”

Thank you to Desiree and Lisa for the following information websites on local doulas:

Welcome to Hampshire Doulas

Thanks also to all those NHM readers who gave the following recommendations. In no particular order. 

Thank you also to Juliet who put this post together!!

NHM Reader Recommendations: Doulas

Lisa Ramsay

Lisa Ramsey – Confident Birthing

Beth said “Lisa Ramsey”

Karen said “Currently working with Lisa Ramsey. Confident birthing”

Lyndsey said “Lisa Ramsay is wonderful”

Desiree Rawson

Desiree Rawson

Bethan said “Desiree Doula Rawson”

Jill said “Desiree Rawson”

Karen Mitchell

Karen Mitchell – My Doula

Beth says “Karen Mitchell”

Wendy Wood

Wendy Wood – Relax for Birth

Shaneene said “Wendy Wood – incredible lady”

Laura Geary

Laura Geary

Rebecca said “Laura Geary – she was fab for me!”

Jane Barnfield

Jane Barnfield – Bright and Beautiful Maternity Care

Lisa said “Jane Barnfield”

Carly Lewis

Carly Lewis – Doula Fairy

Jenni said “Carly Lewis”

Nicky White

Nicky White – Berkshire Doula

Victoria said “Nicky White”

Charmaine Sala

Charmaine Sala Massage Specialist

Kirsty said “Charmaine Sala”

Aliceja said “I’ve not used her but I met Charmaine Sala at a mothercare event and she is really lovely and in training to become a doula this year I think”

Carla said “Charmaine Sala”

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

We ARE keeping a “Sitting with Jane” bench in Basingstoke! WHOOOOOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When the first 12 Lot’s (benches) started bidding at £3000 my first thought was “ah well, at least we’ve raised £1000 for Ark Cancer Centre Charity“.

My second thought was “PHEW!! I don’t need to work out what happens next if we win one!!!” Hahaha.

Then, Lot 13, “Girl Power” came on the screen and they started playing the Spice Girls in the background.

And I started to get a tingly feeling in my tummy…

The bidding started at £3K. Then it dropped to £2K. And then it dropped to £1K and I felt my hand shoot up into the air, with the bidding paddle.

Now, it’s a huge responsibility to bid with other people’s money and there was a LOT of expectation. Running a campaign like this is a huge honour and privilege, one which I don’t take lightly.

I was shaking ALL night.

Several of the benches raised £7K and I felt a teeeennny tiny bit out of my league.

Had it not been for Sue, Rachel and Cathy who came with me, I would have been a dribbling mess on the floor.

And then the Auctioneer said, “anymore bids?”…”Anymore?”…

Sue and Rachel were sat next to me and were clutching my arms and I LITERALLY didn’t breathe for about 5 minutes. At least that’s what it felt like.

“Going once”….

“Going twice”…..

And somebody put in a bid at £1250.


And that was it.

I thought it was all over.

I think I literally sagged in my chair.

I heard someone behind me bid for £1500. Then the bidding closed.

And then I got a text.

From Laura at The Topiary, who was sat at the back of the auction.

We had a conversation in the week that we would collaborate if things got a bit hairy in the auction and it didn’t look like either of us would get a chance of getting one.

And in her text it said “I’ll give you the £500”. “You can have it xxx”.

So, we got it!

“Girl Power”.

(Not the best pictures as I was STILL shaking at this point. However, I expect to see far better pictures of this bench in the future! lol).

Thank you!!!!

I need to say a HUGE thank you to the following people, without whom we never would have stood a chance.

My beloved husband, Mr NHM, whose encouragement and belief in my “crazy” ideas is never ending.

Sue – who took Miss NHM and I to see our first bench at the Walled Garden and got me caught up in this whole thing!! Your friendship and unfailing support means so much to me.

Rebecca at The Typeface Group who has been so supportive along this whole journey and who kept me going when I got back from holiday at the end of August and I thought I’d lost momentum.

Mark at The Ark for his brilliant support, enthusiasm and encouragement and Michelle for her wonderful support!!

Steve and Charlotte at Festival Place for their support and encouragement.

All of the NHM Ladies who believed we could do it and donated:  Wendy, CathyW, Lilian, LauraE, Zoe, Cathy, Karen, Lisa, Helen, Gisella, LauraW, Juliet, Emma, Sue, Sally, Mary, Sarah, Allison, Ceri, Katie, SueS, Victoria, Julie, Rebecca, Jules, Eleanor, Pauline, Michele, Jaz, Rachel, Natasha, Stephany, Kath, Sharon, Sarah, Claire, BeckyT, Lisa, Emily, Pam, Cat, Lyndsey, Rebecca H, Stephanie, Gillian. Thank you!!! You are ALL AWESOME!!!!!

Everyone who entered the competition and helped to raised the profile of the campaign. All of the children looked FANTASTIC!!!!

Mike O’Neil at Action Trophies for his very generous donation.

Nicky from Ma Humbugs Old Fashioned Sweet Shop for her generous donation.

John from Tidal Bay Crazy Adventure Golf for his VERY generous donation (£250!!!) about 30 minutes before the event started. STREEEESSSFFULLLL!!!!! Hahaha

Laura from The Topiary for her INCREDIBLE donation and without whom we never would have stood a chance of getting the bench.

Apologies if there is anyone whom I’ve missed off. I’ve barely slept a wink! lol.

What happens next?

Although I had a very strong feeling that we would get a bench, I hadn’t quite sorted out any of the details about what happens if we actually did!! lol.

I am looking to donate the bench to somewhere that people can still access the bench and where it will be indoors so that it lasts for a very long time. If you have any sensible suggestions please do let me know at

Otherwise it’s going on my Mum’s front drive! 😀 😀 :-D.

Also, if you know of anyone who might be able to help me move the bench as it needs to be removed by Monday (18th September 2017), please do get in touch!!!! (Update: Thank you VERY much to JV Bouncy Castle who very kindly donated their time, muscles and van to move the bench from Laura’s garage to the Discovery centre!) 

Update July 2018: The bench is now on permanent display for everyone to sit on, at the Basingstoke Discovery Centre in the downstairs lobby area.

Still no plaque though. I’ve given up asking when they will put it up :-(.


I would really love to get a little plaque for the bench which will say:

“I dedicate this bench to all of the Mums, and their children, in North Hampshire”.

We did it.

Thank you!

You are all AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xx

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!