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Helping mums get out and active

435. Katy Tuncer

A mum of three boys set up a national network of volunteer-led community activity groups for mothers to support over 1000 mums to get out and active together.

Katy Tuncer set up Ready Steady Mums – local volunteer-led groups where mothers meet to exercise together, such as in a park or community centre. These groups help new mothers, who may feel cut off from friends and other sources of support after the birth, overcome feelings of isolation and sometimes depression. The groups are started by a mother, with support from their health visitor. They begin as a gentle walking group with other local mums before starting other types of physical activity, meaning there is a very low barrier for mums to get started.

Katy came up with the idea when she began walking with fellow mums together in the fresh air a few weeks after her first son was born, and quickly realised the power of community support. The idea spread and new groups started with their own group leaders. Katy and the group leader community worked together, consulting medical and fitness experts to build the Socialcise programme. Suggested exercises include those that use a pushchair, offering mums the opportunity to participate in a social and exercise activity which includes their children.

Recognising the critical role that health visitors played in supporting new Group Leaders, Katy began discussions with the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV). Today, Ready Steady Mums is an iHV-led programme, retaining great involvement from Katy and her team of volunteers. It offers health visitors a proven tool to bring mums together to help reduce and prevent postnatal depression, develop their local community, as well as improve mothers’ physical, social and emotional wellbeing. With health visitors visiting every new mum in the country, they are well-placed to identify, encourage and support new Group Leader volunteers to setup new walking groups – to develop their local community, build community capacity and help tackle social isolation and obesity.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Katy has shown fantastic community spirit, taking the enjoyment and support she got from walking with other new Mums, and creating a nationwide movement to help others share the same experience. Ready Steady Mums has grown into a wonderful way for Mums to come together in their local community. I am delighted to recognise her as the UK’s 436th Point of Light.” 

Katy Tuncer, founder of Ready Steady Mums, said:

“I am honoured to be recognised by the Points of Light awards and delighted to accept the award on behalf of the many Ready Steady Mums Group Leader volunteers as well as the Institute of Health Visiting. The Group Leaders, together with their health visitors, make a huge difference to the lives of mums after birth. We need to encourage more new Group Leaders and also ensure that health visitors are adequately funded to continue this vital support of our next generation of children.”

Dr Cheryll Adams, Executive Director of the Institute of Health Visiting, said:

“Ready Steady Mums is a great programme as it provides the social and community support that many health visitors find missing, while also promoting health. Katy’s Point of Light award is great news for the programme and all the mums and local communities who benefit from it now and in the future.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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