Wellbeing 1000 project
Our friends at Mind Your Head Shetland tell us about their Wellbeing 1000 perinatal peer support project.
Our Wellbeing 1000 project provides nurturing and compassionate wellbeing support for families with children up to the age of 2.5 years. As part of this project, we have a wellbeing group that meets weekly. This group is supported by a Wellness Practitioner and two Peer Support Practitioners. We can support up to 14 parents in an informal setting with refreshments for adults and toys for infants.
This project began when we realised that a number of the people we supported in our Wellness Programme -12 weeks of one to one, low-level mental health and wellbeing support for adults over the age of 18 – were new parents. It was evident that the 12-week timescale for these parents was not long enough. We were lucky to second a Midwife to work with us for 18 months to set up and establish this programme.
Perinatal peer support is a meaningful connection between those that have real life experience of becoming and growing as a parent. It is also about new parents as they start their parenting journey. It’s a mutual relationship based on equality and understanding as both parties’ support and benefit from the relationship.Mind Your Head Shetland
Listening and adapting
We spent 6 months speaking to the local community about what they found difficult after having their baby. We asked them what would have been helpful. This included speaking to parents and professionals, Midwives, Health Visitors, local befriending team. We also engaged with local family centre and past clients from the Wellbeing Programme. We also spoke to the Scottish Recovery Network and received resources and information regarding peer support. Due to our small numbers we also spoke to other Scottish organisations such as Moray Wellbeing Hub. This led to online training from them for our volunteers.
Impact and learning
The wellbeing group established more successfully than we anticipated. This group went live with 2 practitioners and one volunteer and has been a huge success. We have a mix of returning and new families that attend and have managed to run weekly with minimal disruption.
The group surprised us by establishing itself very quickly due to the open and honest conversations from those attending. Quickly relationships between the families developed and many of the returning parents invite others for lunch or to the park afterwards, fostering natural support and connection. Support occurs between those attending and with our staff and volunteers.
This group is free to attend and a drop in format which we strive to keep as this reduces the pressure of having to book, attend at a particular start time or to stay for the full 2 hours. Moving forward our focus will be to build upon the group support as this is thriving and working well. By following the lead of those using the service we continue to gather feedback to make sure that we are actively listening to the needs of those looking for support.
- For more information about the Wellbeing 1000 project contact Mind Your Head
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