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Parents' mental health support group throws party as it moves into Stratford community space

PUBLISHED: 17:42 26 April 2019

New facilities give babies space to play while parents chat. Picture: Kamal Sultan.

New facilities give babies space to play while parents chat. Picture: Kamal Sultan.

Kamal Sultan

A mental health and wellbeing parent support group has held a party to announce their expansion into a community space in Stratford.

Chloe Rivers and Ben Wright with their daughter Iris. Picture: Kamal Sultan.Chloe Rivers and Ben Wright with their daughter Iris. Picture: Kamal Sultan.

The group moved to The Hall community space in East Village on Friday because they had outgrown the coffee shop they previously met in.

Chloe Rivers, 35, started the East Village Parent Club (EVPC) six months ago because there wasn't a support network for parents on leave with young babies.

She said: “It's brilliant for them to have something here, it's free entertainment.

“They don't need to make an appointment to come and I think it's really good for them and the babies.”

Toddlers enjoying the new ball pit. Picture: Kamal Sultan.Toddlers enjoying the new ball pit. Picture: Kamal Sultan.

The group's main focus is to help parents with their mental health and wellbeing.

Ms Rivers added: “It has given me a massive project to work on and meeting these lovely people and feeling like I'm bringing people together has made me feel a lot better about everything.

“When I do have times I'm feeling anxious, it really lifts my spirits.”

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The new space now has room for the children to play with a ball pit and sensory play mats with different materials for babies to play with.

Local businesses Signorelli and Ginger & Mint helped with the food at the event and offer EVPC members discounts.

Martina Klancisar, 34, is an EVPC member. She said: “Being able to go out and not be stuck at home all day thinking about stuff is a nice change.

“I genuinely think Chloe's amazing with the amount of stuff she's done while caring for a tiny baby. I don't know how she does it.”

There's even a WhatsApp group where parents rant, laugh and ask questions all through the night.

Caitlin Finnegan-Vaughan, 33, said: “Building up a network close to where you live is invaluable.

“There are some weeks where even if that's the only thing to look forward to it helps your mental health.”

Every three weeks parents have a chance to ask industry professionals about any questions they may have.

The group meets every Friday between 11am-1pm and is free to parents.

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