The summer has so far been a busy and productive time at Best Beginnings.

July 12th was our eighth birthday as a registered charity and we celebrated in style - it was the British 10k run that day and I had the honour of cheering on Team Best Beginnings!

Huge thanks to everyone who ran for Best Beginnings and to everyone who has (or will!) sponsor them.

On the video you’ll hear messages from our runners, get a taste of the amazing atmosphere and see my youngest son, Josh, giving “high-fives” to lots of the 30,000 runners! Many thanks to Harish Patel who filmed the event and edited this special memory video for us completely pro bono – capturing special memories for our runners and creating a special birthday present for Best Beginnings.

Since I founded the charity in 2006, Best Beginnings has reached more than 2 million families across the UK and we continue to drive the work forward using innovative, evidence-based, and collaborative principles.  Thank you, from me, the team and our trustees, to everyone who has and continues to support our work.

There have been some changes

While we’ve had to say some sad farewells to valued members of the team, I am delighted to say that we have Stephen Bell on board as a highly experienced executive in the not-for-profit sector. 

Stephen has been in the children’s charitable and wellbeing sector for over 25 years and we are excited about the opportunities he is bringing to Best Beginnings as we move through 2015.

Maternal Mental Health films

Funded by the Burdett Trust and Galvani Foundation, our series of films about maternal mental health are being edited.  The films will support knowledge and confidence amongst parents and professionals, increase awareness, and reduce stigma.  We give our sincerest thanks to the parents who have let our cameras into their lives to help other families in the future.

In late July we showcased a rough-cut of our powerful drama, to be used as training resource for healthcare professionals, to a select audience at the House of Lords.  Many thanks to the Earl of Listowel for hosting us.

Our maternal mental health drama tells the story of a young woman, Amy, as her mental health deteriorates during her pregnancy and after the birth of her child.  We are very grateful to our guests who gave phenomenal feedback and acknowledged the potential of the drama and our other work to help drive change nationally.

The Maternal Mental Health project will also see brand new short films uploaded to the ever-expanding Baby Buddy app video collection.

We said a big “Happy 1st Birthday” to the Baby Buddy app this month which has been downloaded nearly 35,000 times since launch! 

We are getting more than a 100 downloads a day, with the numbers going up month on month. Mothers completing the in–app questionnaires have reported that Baby Buddy is helping them to learn more about their pregnancy, helping them to feel closer to their baby, helping them get more from their healthcare appointments, and that the app is easy to use and understand.  

Professionals can order free leaflets and posters to promote Baby Buddy and get local services featured in Baby Buddy for free.


Conference - Maternal and Infant Nutrition and Nurture Unit

Earlier this summer, I was privileged to give a keynote talk at this superb three day annual conference at the University of Central Lancashire which brought together expert researchers and clinicians from around the world to share latest evidence, innovations and best practice.  Five other members of the Best Beginnings team presented on key aspects of our work.

Full findings from the conference will be shared in the Autumn, however I can share with you one of the headlines: following the introduction of the Small Wonders Programme, Liverpool Women’s Hospital found a significant increase in doses of breast milk that babies received in hospital and a statistically significant increase in the percentage of babies going home on breastmilk.

As my August blog draws to a close...
I want to thank you for your support and for being part of the Best Beginnings family.

I’d be delighted if you choose to honour the charity’s 8th Birthday with a one-off donation or, even better, by becoming a regular donor: please donate by clicking here.  

Every donation makes a difference and year on year 91p in every pound goes towards our charitable activity. 

Please also consider other ways to become an active member of the Best Beginnings Family – you might like to become one of our fundraisers or become a volunteer.

Together we can make a difference for future generations.

Warmest wishes


PS: As always, it is always great to hear from you, so please do drop me an email with your thoughts, reflections and ideas. Please forgive me if I don’t reply until September. I’m about to take two weeks of leave with my wonderful family. I’m looking forward to spending some fulltime mummy time!