2009. Beth Allum
2010. Fi McQuay
Beth Allum and Fi McQuay, from Reading founded ‘Becoming Mums’, a peer support network combating isolation among new mothers.
Inspired after watching a play about giving birth which helped spark open conversations about motherhood, Beth and Fi wanted to create a safe space for women to come together and support one another. Set up in 2017, ‘Becoming Mums’ serves both as a free, facilitated, in person group, which meets up regularly, and a nationwide online community of over 850 members. ‘Becoming Mums’ also works in partnership with existing support services and can signpost advice and guidance, whilst offering a place of no-judgement support. They also run 6-week creative programmes for mothers referred by local mental health services.
Using funding from the National Lottery, Beth and Fi also started live online support sessions and a podcast series through lockdown, inviting a range of guests and experts to speak on topics such as anxiety, single parenting and domestic violence, to try to combat loneliness and isolation during such a difficult time.
In a personal letter to Beth, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“I want to thank you for the brilliant work you have done with Fiona to create a peer support group for new mothers.
“‘Becoming Mums’ is helping hundreds of mothers support one another, as well as providing dedicated programmes to help the most vulnerable.
“Through your podcast you are opening up honest conversations on the challenges of motherhood and helping to support those who feel isolated.”
In a personal letter to Fi, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“Together with Beth, you have created a fantastic peer support group that offers new mothers an opportunity to discuss their experiences and helps those who are feeling isolated.
“It is brilliant to hear that ‘Becoming Mums’ is also providing programmes for vulnerable women to gain valuable skills and build their confidence, as well as signposting mothers towards further support services.”
Beth and Fi said:
“We are thrilled to be recognised with a Points of Light award. We are really proud of the organisation we have built and the community it has formed. It was something we needed ourselves, and in the past 6 years have found that hundreds of others did too. Maternal mental health struggles are often invisible, hidden behind closed doors, so awareness raising like this makes a huge difference. Thank you so much.”
See more about ‘Becoming Mums’.