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Support partnership for young mums celebrates first birthday

Tuesday, 05 May, 2015
Support partnership for young mums celebrates first birthday

A partnership which supports first-time young mums in Northumberland has celebrated its first birthday.

The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP), run by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, involves a specially-trained family nurse regularly visiting young mums and dads up to the age of 19, from early pregnancy until their child is two years old.

Part of an initiative which was first developed in the United States over 30 years ago, the FNP programme aims to enable young mums to have a healthy pregnancy, improve their child’s health and development, plan their own futures and achieve their aspirations.

In the last year, the partnership has supported scores of young mums in Northumberland and around 50 came together at a first birthday party at Ashington Children’s Centre.

Rachel Rispin, supervisor for Northumberland FNP at Northumbria Healthcare, said:  “The Family Nursing Partnership has had an excellent first year supporting young mums to be the best mums they can.

“We’re currently supporting 69 young people from Northumberland from the early stages of their pregnancy and during the first two years of their baby’s life.

“The feedback from the young mums and dads has been extremely positive with the teenagers telling us they have increased confidence in themselves, and their parenting as a result of the partnership.

“It is also great to hear that they are benefitting greatly from the trusting and supportive relationship with their family nurse.

“It was fantastic to see so many young people at our first birthday party and to be able to celebrate the success of the programme.

One of the young mums to benefit from FNP is Katie Quigley, from Pegswood, and her daughter Imogen. Katie said she was ‘terrified’ when she found out she was pregnant and is full of praise for her family nurse Sarah Jackson.

Katie, 16, said: “My family nurse Sarah is fantastic. I’ve got her number in my phone – I can ask her anything and she’s always there to help. I’d never had any experience of babies before so she’s taught me everything I know from changing a nappy to feeding.

“She’s really helped with my relationship with Imogen and given me the confidence to be a parent. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.”

Toni Neesam’s sons Oliver and Lucas were the only twins at the first birthday celebration. Toni, from Cramlington, has benefitted from the support she has been given by her family nurse Jan Hall.

Toni, 19, said: “The partnership has been excellent for me and helped me manage with having twins. It’s great because if I’m worried about anything I can ask Jan, however, she’s helped me in lots of other ways too such as giving me recipes for healthy food and information about baby groups.”

The FNP is one of a range of services provided by Northumbria Healthcare to support children in the community and in hospital.

Staff from a number of agencies involved in the scheme attended the celebration including Janette Hopkins, from the national FNP.

Penny Spring, director of public health at Northumberland County Council, said: “Becoming a parent at any age can be challenging. The partnership supports and empowers parents to make the right choices for themselves and their babies, to build on their strengths and help them to become sensitive and responsive caregivers to their babies.

“Already the partnership is seeing some positive results with approximately 55 per cent of those taking part in the scheme starting breast feeding.”

Gill Physick, children’s services manager at Action for Children, which runs Ashington Children’s Centre, said: “Young parents in Ashington and across Northumberland have truly benefitted from the Family Nurse Partnership which has helped build their confidence to access our wider services such as the young parents’ group at Ashington Children’s Centre.

“Action for Children is delighted to be part of the Family Nurse Partnership celebration and I feel proud of the young parents who have made so much progress throughout the year.”