A new service which provides targeted support for Black, Asian, and Mixed ethnicity expectant mothers and parents of children under two-years-old has been launched in Peterborough.
The Mothers United for Maternity and Mental Health Action (MUMMA) scheme is a partnership between UK children’s charity Barnardo’s, Raham Project which supports ethnic minority families in the region and CPSL Mind, a mental health charity that promotes positive health across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, and South Lincolnshire.
MUMMA offers practical help, emotional support and candid advice for Black, Asian and Mixed ethnicity mothers and mothers-to-be. The charities behind MUMMA know from their own frontline experience that parents from these communities frequently do not receive antenatal and maternity care which meets their specific needs. This can have a huge impact on the physical and mental health of the family.
In Peterborough, preterm births, miscarriage, and termination rates are notably higher for Black people than for white people in the area, which is also reflected on a national scale. In addition, Black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women in the UK. In an aim to address this issue locally, MUMMA will run for an initial pilot until October ahead of plans for it to be implemented permanently in the region and elsewhere across the UK.
Rukshana Kapasi, Barnardo’s Director of Health said: “Sadly, we know all too well how Black mothers struggle to get antenatal and maternity care which respects and supports their own cultural views, wishes, and nuances. This can lead to poor mental and physical health for them and also their young children in such formative years of their lives.
“We hope that MUMMA can provide an apt solution through specialist, considerate and culturally sensitive care which puts the true needs of such families at the heart of all that is on offer.”
MUMMA will offer a range of services including breastfeeding support, tailored antenatal classes, the opportunity to meet and socialise with other parents in the area, storytelling sessions, and ongoing mental health support.
It specifically caters for those who are planning a family, are currently pregnant or have a child under the age of two. MUMMA also provides specialist help and support following the loss of a baby.
Faiza Rehman, Founder of Raham Project and practising midwife, said: “As a mother of two, I know both professionally and personally how important it is to create safe and non-judgemental spaces for mothers and partners from ethnic communities.
“Becoming a parent is such an important time in a family’s life so it is vital to have the care and support network that MUMMA will provide to ensure that everyone is happy and healthy from day one and beyond.”
Lisa Gibson, Deputy Head of Services CPSL Mind said: “Becoming a parent, or growing your existing family, is a wonderful but undeniably stressful time. Whilst there’s a huge focus on physical health of mum and baby, it’s vital that mental health is not overlooked.
“Mental health is individual and unique to every person and so their needs will vary greatly. We hope that, by partnering with Barnardo’s and The Raham Project, we can provide the right support for the diverse communities in our region.”
MUMMA has been funded by SEEN, which is a Barnardo’s initiative which champions and supports children and young people of African, Asian and Caribbean heritage. Find out more here.
The service MUMMA can be accessed via a referral from a midwife or registering their interest on the Barnardo’s website. It is now running at East Child & Family Centre, 21 Durham Road, Peterborough. To find out more visit:
Notes to editors
Last year Barnardo’s provided essential support to over 357,000 children, young people, parents and carers through more than 790 services and partnerships across the UK.
We provide vital support to the children and families who need us most, to help with a range of issues including mental health, child sexual abuse and children in care.
We listen to children and young people and work to bring about positive change so that they can have a brighter future.
Visit www.barnardos.org.uk to find out more.
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