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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Baby Sleep the Night

Having trouble getting your baby / toddler to sleep? Let me help you as I have been there too.

I am currently working towards finalising my certification and am offering a 2 week package which usually would cost £250 for £50 in exchange for an honest review of my service and a testimonial if you’re happy with the results at the end of our time together.

It is worth mentioning that I do not use the ‘ cry it out ‘ method, which many frazzled parents may possibly have tried and found not successful in the past. I use a very gentle approach taught to me by one of the leading baby sleep consultants in the UK which allows you to be there every step of the way to help provide comfort to your little one whilst they learn this new and important skill. I am incredibly passionate about sleep having suffered sleep deprivation with my own children and I know that healthy sleep habits mean healthy happy children.

If you know of anyone who this may help, please pass on my details or share to your entire address book!

www.babysleepthenight.com

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New information evening for Mums making a choice for birth after Caesarean

A new information evening for mums making a choice for birth after Caesarean will be on the second Wednesday of every month at 18.30hrs at alternating maternity sites.

It continues on Wednesday 12th of June at Basingstoke in the Blue room, downstairs in the Sherbourne building.

The purpose is to give consistent advice regarding the options for women having had a caesarean and help them to achieve the birth they would like , either and elective repeat Cs or a VBAC.

For more details, please contact me at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com and I will put you in touch with the relevant Consultant Midwife.

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New Class in Overton: NCT Mother and Baby Yoga

NCT Mother and Baby Yoga is a unique and fun exercise programme designed for mother and baby.

Classes provide a wonderful opportunity for you as a new mother to ease your way back into exercise after the birth of your baby. Each class comprises gentle yoga-based exercises for both you and your baby to do together.

Mums will have the opportunity to do exercises and stretches to:

• strengthen and tone your muscles; especially abdominal, pelvic floor and back muscles
• increase your fitness levels
• regain and maintain a good posture
• provide some vital relaxation
• re-energise and motivate you for the rest of the week

Babies will have the opportunity to experience some yoga and massage especially for them to:

• encourage their reflexes to develop
• enhance their motor development
• increase their awareness of their surroundings
• calm and relax them, helping them to sleep better

Overall the class allows time for the mother and baby bond to develop, enhancing your understanding of your baby and hence increasing your confidence in being a parent.

Music features throughout the class, creating a fun and relaxed atmosphere, re-learn those nursery rhymes and come and join us.

Classes are suitable for you and your baby to attend from six weeks after birth. You need to have had your six/eight week check from your GP and been given permission to restart exercising before attending classes.

I will provide mats but you can bring your own if you wish. You may find it useful to have a small cushion and a blanket as well for extra comfort. Please bring along a blanket for baby to lie on and a favorite toy or comforter.

Sessions end with a chance to have a drink and a chat while you get to know the other mothers on the course. Free parking spaces are available at outside the Community Centre, on the London Road car park, or Overton Hill car park.

Many thanks and I look forward to welcoming you and your baby to classes soon. Anne Boyere

5.00 to 6.00 pm on Sundays

Term time in 6 week blocks or book each session from one week to the other.

Babies from 6 weeks (mums needs to have had 6-week check) to 12 months (or walking).

Cost is £5 per session.

Website: https://www.nct.org.uk/branches/basingstoke/mb_yoga
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RelaxStretchBreatheBasingstoke/
Email: a.boyere26617@hotmail.co.uk
Tel: 07515821851

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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.

https://www.facebook.com/HampshireBreastfeedingCounselling/ 

Last Updated: September 2018

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Baby Talk – Antenatal and Postnatal Classes available at Mothercare Basingstoke

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Basingstoke NCT Nearly New Sale: COMPETITION

COMPETITION TIME

Wow !!! The Basingstoke NCT nearly new sale takes place in just under 1 month !!

This is your chance to beat the queue
By getting early entry into our ever popular NCT sale on 6th October at QMC.

We are offering a great opportunity to grab some bargains before the sale doors are open officially

3 lucky winners will be able to shop for 15 mins before the doors open to NCT members & 30 mins before general public

Winners get entry at 10.45am !!!!

To enter the competition simply……
— COMMENT with what you love about the NCT sale or say what you are looking forward to the most and TAG a friend
— LIKE & SHARE the original post and/or the page to help raise lots of pennies for the NCT charity

Link to competition / original post :-
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=439488249791746&id=134111313662776

(Liking and sharing isn’t compulsory to enter but would be appreciated)

Do the above by 10am on 28th September
The 3 winners will be announced later that day

The main NCT nearly new sale page has lots of reviews, tips and photos. Please “like” it by following the attached link –
https://www.facebook.com/BasingstokeNCTNNS/

How are we different to a lot of other sales ??

**Pay by card or cash. We have chip & pin
**Items are sorted like a shop, so easy to find
**You are supporting a charity
**Ran by volunteers
**No bartering the price with the seller. If you like the price. You buy !
**Only £1.50 entry fee
**Lots of free parking
**You pay for all items together in our payments section
** Its a trusted sale. We have been running for years
**The volunteers check the quality of items
**Lots of bargains. We now have 2 halls with many different items

(This competition is in no way affiliated with facebook)

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NHM Readers Recommend: Cranial Osteopaths for Babies

An NHM Reader recently asked: “I wondered if you might know of any cranial osteopaths that treat babies at all? I have seen a few online but would love some recommendations if possible? Any thoughts gratefully received!”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers recommend cranial osteopaths for babies

Val said “Bramley Osteopaths are great and do baby cranial”

  • Natasha said “Second this. I took my daughter here.”
  • Helena said “I’ll vouch for Becky Hall too. She worked wonders on one reflux baby and a toddler that wouldn’t sleep.”
  • Stephanie said “Another vote for Bramley”
  • Lowri said “Becky Hall at Bramley Osteopaths – miracle worker!”
  • Nita said “Another vote for Becky Hall at Bramley”
  • Lindsay said “Becky at Bramley is fab. Both of my boys were treated by her, one as a baby and one as a toddler.”

Melanie said “Sally Mathews did my bubba.” https://www.facebook.com/wessexchiropractic/

Laura said “Physical balance in Overton are great.

  • Hayley said “Physical balance in overton”
  • Angela said “We went to Physical Balance in Overton and they were great! I was a little sceptical but very desperate and it worked wonders.”

Leanne said “Kate Rosati (Latham) treated our baby. She’s great! http://www.listening-hands.co.uk/

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NHM Readers Recommend – Where to Buy Second Hand Maternity Clothes

An NHM Reader recently asked “”Could you please ask the community where I can buy second hand maternity clothes? Is so expensive, I’m size 10.” The NHM Community were amazing in their responses. Thank you for all of your suggestions, listed below in no particular order, and thank you very much to all of those who offered clothes!

NHM Readers recommend – where to buy second hand maternity clothes

Claire says “The NCT nearly new sale always has a good range. Whole section of maternity clothes. But that’s not till 28th April. https://www.facebook.com/BasingstokeNCTNNS/. You could also ask a question on facebay etc whether anyone selling any”

Jo says “VarageSale have tons of maternity stuff too. It’s an online selling/buying app. You join your local community (basingstoke) and then there’s tons of stuff to buy and you can sell your stuff for free too! https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/varagesale/id622859960?mt=8

Wendy says “Lots of people donate them to Spotlight but I needed different coats second time round and eBay was the best place. Also ask if the hospice shops if they have got their acts together and put all their baby bits in one place yet. Fitmama selling normally has a few too.”

Sally says “I used to look on ebay”

Karen says “Online groups. Put ‘maternity clothes’ in the search bar and there’s lots of Facebook groups. There’s even jo jo maman bebe only ones.

Becki says “I bought most of my maternity clothes on Facebook market place, charity shops and the nearly new sales”

Heather says “I used eBay”

Becky says “Market place on Facebook! Got all mine for £20”

Helen says “VarageSale”

Sandhya says “VarageSale for anything buy/sell local. It has categories and sort through size. Need to download the app or use the website.”

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NHM Readers Recommend – Where to go to Make Mummy Friends

An NHM Reader recently asked: “Hi Louise would it be possible to have a post please? I’ve only lived in Basingstoke just over a Year now and left all my friends/family behind, just wondered if anyone knew anywhere I could go to make mummy friends as I’m starting to feel really lonely and isolated many thanks in advance”. There was an amazing response from the NHM Community, including many offers to meet up! Thank you so much everyone! Suggestions have been listed below in no particular order:

NHM readers recommend – where to go to make mummy friends

Joanna says “BusyBees Hook is a very welcoming toddler group it’s at Elizabeth Hall on a Friday morning at 9.45am”

Cathy says “Brookvale Toddler Group is near the town centre – baby chicks there today”

Louise NHM says “I have a “secret pregnancy” group? It’s a great way to meet other local mums who are also pregnant. I think there are about 50 Mums in the group at the mo… If anyone would like to be added to the groups that I have set up for Mum’s with little ones who would like to make some new friends, please just let me know.”

Wendy says “Gym classes are a pretty good place. There’s a wide range of classes available in Basingstoke. Between them Helena (4fitsake), Kelly (Boogie Bounce Xtreme), Vicky (MummaBfit) and Marie FitMama Behenna cover every type of class and every time slot possible. I think Vicky started her business because of the mum friends she made at gym classes. Also Louise has a NHM night out.”

Erica says “There are lots of toddler groups around and those would be a great place to start but it can be intimidating and difficult as someone who doesn’t know anyone else in these situations. I would maybe find one of those that is close to you and then send out a message to the regulars in that toddler group to say hi this is me… please come and say hi if I’m there next time!”

Cerys says “Coffee & Chat at Brookvale on Fridays (but not this Friday as it’s a bank holiday)”

Lucy says “How old are the children/child? Def look at groups near where living as then hopefully will make friends with children going to the same school”

Laura says “Look for a local nct coffee morning group. Definitely less intimidating than a toddler group and more about mummy chats than most classes are. They’re listed on the nct website.”

Stacey says “Apps like Mush Mums or Mummy Social are a good idea. You can send other mums messages who have kids the same age or have same interests as you. A great idea would be to organise a coffee meet up on there and get chatting!”

Emma says “I felt exactly like this when I had my first son – I moved here from Bournemouth and when I was working it wasn’t so hard as I socialised with work colleagues, but after having baby I needed to meet people in the same situation which was really hard. I found net mums ‘meet a mum’ board good (although it’s a bit like speed dating for mums!) and Louise runs her prosecco meet ups where everyone is encouraged to socialise. Defo look at local baby groups as you’ll probably end up meeting people who live nice and close to you. I totally sympathise with how you feel and you’ve done the right thing to ask for help as everyone needs companionship, loneliness sucks”

Sarah says “Find on Facebook – Basingstoke Mama Tribe. We’re a new group of first time mum’s and mum’s of toddlers but anyone welcome. It’s a casual affair and most of us moved to Basingtoke within the last few years. Hope to see you soon.”

Helen says “Ready Steady Mums is a free walking group mums who meet and have a social walk and chat, they have a Facebook group. Basingstoke Mums is another group where the mums chat and meet up for coffee.”

Sasha says “I know how it feels and i found just joining lots of groups and taking the plunge to go along sorted it in the end”

Lindsey says “Try bouncing beans on Sarum Hill in a Friday. So very friendly and lovely group for pre schoolers”

Rebecca says “If anyone wants to pop into our B Group in Odiham for bumps and babies under one feel free! Find us on Facebook. We set it up so mums could meet each other and support each other”

Becky says “Try the app hoop for ideas, or baby/toddler signing tiny talk classes are fun!”

Kelly says “Www.facebook.com/jiggybasingstoke This is a lovely musical movement class in Basingstoke, Hook and Fleet. Good opportunity to meet new mums. If anyone wants to know about local meet ups, this page is good www.facebook.com/mummymeetupbasingstokeManage

Allison says “There are two parent and toddler groups held at St Mary’s Church Eastrop – Tuesday and Thursday mornings (check website for details). Also there’s a Dad’s and toddler group once a month on a Saturday (bacon butties are involved!).”

Rachael says “Bumps into mums at Sherfield Park on a Friday morning 10am till 12pm, friendly group with little a ones from 0 up to school age and runs through holidays aswell. 0-5 toddler group at Sherfield Park as well on a Tuesday morning 10-12pm very friendly and lots of age groups and people from different back grounds. And mummy social”

Erin says “There is an app called Mush”

Naomi says “ Melrose Hall popley little people on a Tuesday 10 till 11.30. And Melrose Friday Tots 10 till 11.30 (with a stay for Lunch option aswell)”

Jenny says “I organise a weekly Wednesday meet up through ‘Last Minute Mums’ on Facebook. Anyone can be added. There won’t be one now until after Easter though. We are a small group so would be great to have some more mummies who can join us. We usually go to a playgroup or soft play”

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