Families and Babies Charity
1153. Elaine Edwards
Elaine Edwards, from Bolton, is the founder of ‘Families and Babies’ (FAB), providing peer support services to help improve the health and wellbeing of children and families, with a focus on breastfeeding.
After finding invaluable support from fellow mothers when experiencing difficulties breastfeeding, Elaine was inspired to found a support network for mums run by mums. The project provides peer support in many ways dependent on area, including 1:1 home visits, a 24-hour helpline and daily support in maternity wards. ‘FAB’ has been instrumental in delivering a proactive peer support service for mothers and families over the past fifteen years and currently offers support in Lancashire, Wakefield, Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole, and has grown to include support groups for fathers. The charity also has its own second hand shop and furniture store to help fund its work and last year launched a Peer Support Mental Health Wellbeing Group at their Bolton centre, to offer a safe, non-judgemental support group and listening centre.
In a personal letter to Elaine, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Drawing on your own experience, you are connecting mothers across the country and FAB is creating an invaluable support network and helping families to improve their health and wellbeing. You should feel very proud of what you have achieved and I wish you the best in your continued work.”
“I am absolutely delighted to be receiving this award on behalf of ‘Families and Babies (FAB)’ and would like to honour my amazing team of staff and volunteers who make ‘FAB’ such a success. Breastfeeding has so many wonderful health benefits and peer support in the early days can make such a difference to a mother’s breastfeeding journey. It is a real privilege to lead such a valuable service for women and we are always looking at growing our team of passionate volunteers to offer support to even more mothers.”