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Nursing project to support young first-time mums launched in Newham

The new programme is designed to provide intensive support for young first time mums The new programme is designed to provide intensive support for young first time mums

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
3:02 PM

A programme that provides first time mums aged 19 or under with intensive support from pregnancy through to when their babies are two has been launched in Newham.

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The Family Nurse Partnership, a voluntary home visiting programme was launched at St Stephen’s Nursery School and Children’s Centre in Plaistow in February. Councillor Clive Furness, Dr Robert Dolan, Chief Executive of East London NHS Foundation Trust, Ailsa Swarbrick, the FNP National Unit Director and Neena Lall, Head Teacher at the school all attended the launch.

Young parents who have already worked with some of the nurses spoke about how the programme has supported them during pregnancy, helped them to gain confidence in caring for their babies, and continued to support them at each stage of the baby’s development.

Zoe Vowles, Family Nurse Supervisor, said: “Hearing from the young families at the launch event was the most powerful way to understand how the programme can support young people. We support people by providing information and structured activities to develop skills, experience and confidence. This enables young parents and their children to get the best possible start.”

The project offers on-going, intensive support to young, first-time mothers-to-be from early pregnancy until their babies are two.

As part of the programme a specially trained family nurse visits the young mum regularly at home from early in pregnancy until the child is two. The programme actively involves partners, fathers and other family members, if mothers want them to be involved.

The Newham Family Nurse Partnership team includes four Family Nurses, a Family Nurse supervisor and an Administrator, who are based at Custom House. Each Family Nurse will provide intensive support to 25 families, with 100 families being enrolled in the programme over the first year.

Health in pregnancy, and the quality of the caregiving babies receive during the first years of life, can have a long lasting impact on a child’s future health, happiness, relationships and achievement of their aspirations. The programme aspires to break the negative cycle of intergenerational disadvantage, by working with the strengths and motivations of families.

Around five per cent of families in this country have poor life chances. These are the families who require more targeted support and help than even the best mainstream services can provide. The team is able to work with parents to offer them practical information and guidance, psychological support to help them develop their confidence and skills to go forward as a family.

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