Wokingham Borough Council has today reaffirmed its commitment to supporting breastfeeding women in Wokingham, confirming its continued financial support to the Breastfeeding Network (BfN) community services for 2020/21.
The council has allocated nearly £14,000 to help build the service locally this year, pledging to create a sustainable, long-term future for the BfN.
“We are committed to supporting new mothers across the borough,” said Cllr Charles Margetts, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services.
“Breastfeeding Network volunteers have helped 342 new mums since May 2019 and we are pleased that, due to our additional funding, they will be able to recruit and train 12 new peer support volunteers and provide ongoing training and support for these volunteers across the borough”.
BfN will be looking to recruit local mums, who have breastfed, to attend drop-ins, bringing a personal, friendly approach and a sound knowledge of breastfeeding combined with active listening skills. These volunteers will be invited to attend two-hour weekly sessions over 12 weeks that will provide them with a nationally recognised, Open College Network accredited qualification.
“We are thrilled that Wokingham Borough Council is continuing to support the BfN to allow us to provide non-judgmental, practical and evidence-based information to help build a mum’s skills and confidence in breastfeeding,” said Kirsty Beck, Volunteer Co-ordinator for Wokingham Borough at the BfN.
“The feedback that we have received from local mums has been very positive, with many stating that they have found the service to be personal, friendly and encouraging with volunteers being empathic and more focused on emotional support.”
“What started as me looking for desperate help with my baby’s latch ended up being an interesting and encouraging weekly support group that I’ve loved attending,” said Sara, a mother who attends the Brambles group in Wokingham.
The council’s funding will also provide a volunteer co-ordinator who will both support the new recruits while building on the network of contact with other professionals as well as admin duties.
Shereen Fisher, CEO for The Breastfeeding Network, said, ”The Breastfeeding Network is delighted to be continuing our work with local parents and Wokingham Borough Council to develop the volunteer breastfeeding peer support service we lead across Wokingham. This funding represents a strong opportunity to establish a secure offer of ongoing local breastfeeding support for parents and build on the hard work initiated by volunteers.”