1622. Lynn Hammel
Lynn Hammel, from County Durham, is a mother-of-five who set up ‘Clart About’ in 2014 to support new mothers in the North East at risk of, or suffering with, postnatal depression following her own experiences with perinatal illness.
‘Clart About’ uses sensory play to promote positive bonding experiences between children and parents, running a cafe and soft play facility, which not only creates a stimulative environment for mothers to interact with their babies but also acts as a hub allowing mothers to come together for support and to connect with one another. During lockdown, whilst the centre has been closed, Lynn has been issuing sensory bags to mothers to ensure they are still able to bond with their newborns, as well as supporting them virtually by bringing mums together online.
In a personal letter to Lynn, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I was inspired to hear about how you have reimagined your sensory play sessions during lockdown to support bonding between parents and children.
“With your sensory bags and virtual play sessions, you have helped young families across the North East meet and stay connected with each other. It is more important than ever that we find ways to support mental wellbeing so let me thank you for helping local mothers do that.”
Richard Holden, Lynn’s local MP for North West Durham, said:
“I want to say a huge congratulations to Lynn for achieving the Prime Minister’s Point of Light award. She deserves recognition on the national stage for the work she has done to support new mothers, which has been hugely important to the community and the wider North East.
“She was quick to adapt her initiative when lockdown hit to ensure that new mothers still receive the support they need and deserve and the hard work she has undertaken has been appreciated by so many. I hope that, as lockdown lifts, Lynn is able to continue the wonderful work she does and I am delighted that her work has been acknowledged by the Prime Minister.”
“I am both delighted and overwhelmed to hear that I have received this award. Upon setting up ‘Clart About Ltd’ in 2014 I wanted to help find a way to help support new mothers at risk of perinatal illness and over the last year new mother’s have been left unsupported due to no fault of their own and been at an increased risk of suffering with their mental health after giving birth. I set up the organisation with the view of being able to help just one new mother and almost seven years later we have helped thousands.”