Mother’s day isn’t always an easy day to celebrate for the mums starting off in Hightown Housing Association’s Mother and Baby Service, based in St Albans, but thanks to the supportive staff they will be given the help and guidance they need.
The Mother and Baby unit, provided in partnership with St Albans City and District Council, helps up to eight young mums aged between 16 – 30 and provides the emotional and practical support the women need to raise a baby and find more permanent accommodation.
We caught up with Kyrah who was helped by the service after being referred by St Albans City and District Council. When Kyrah first visited the service, she instantly got a ‘warm and welcoming’ feeling and moved in when her daughter was three months old.
Kyrah quickly got to know the other mums living there and formed a strong bond with a few of them, who she now considers ‘forever friends’. Kyrah felt she grew in confidence and was able to help the others with their babies. She told us:
“The staff helped with everything, if I needed help with baby food or sorting out a weekly budget or how to cook something. They were also around if I just needed to talk or was finding things tough. They understand that being a new mum changes everything and it can get lonely sometimes.”
Kyrah moved on from the service last year, but was back last Christmas to donate some baby items that she no longer needed. She felt it was important to give something back to the service, after all the help they had given her. Kyrah is currently volunteering in Hackney as a youth mentor, working with young offenders and young people who have parents struggling with mental health issues. Due to COVID she does this via Zoom. The experience has encouraged her to go to college and study further since she would like to become a youth worker.
Over the last year with COVID restrictions in place there's been an important need to support the new mums' emotional and mental health needs.
Felicia who works at the Mother and Baby Service adds:
"During the covid-19 pandemic, there hasn’t been many changes to our service delivery. We continue with our face to face support observing the covid-19 safety measures in place. We provided trauma informed support to our service users due to the covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. We worked with other professionals, such as the health visitors and the perinatal team and family centre to ensure that, the mothers in the service are supported adequately regarding their mental well-being. There have been positive move on experiences into independent living for four mothers during this period."