Since I last blogged a huge amount has happened. In the last two weeks alone I've spoken at the NHS England Maternity event in Blackburn, the International Day of the Midwife conference at Kings College London and co-facilitated a workshop at the RCPCH inequalities day with the lovely Chris Cuthbert from NSPCC.  Here are some highlights of the last few weeks:

Australia and New Zealand Lecture Tour

Thanks to funding from the Australian Breastfeeding Association and the New Zealand Lactation Consultants Association, in February I went on a two week lecture tour of Australia and New Zealand. All the other international speakers were from the USA and I was very pleased to be the honorary Pom. I visited Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland where I gave eight talks and had ten meetings.

It was brilliant but very intense and included a meeting at the Department of Health in Canberra and also with the Victoria State Departments of Health and Education in Melbourne. I learnt a huge amount, including from my fellow speakers and also I discovered the extent of the international interest in our work. A highlight for me was meeting Matilda a wonderful aboriginal woman who has since become a friend. She, like me, is working to reduce inequalities in child-health by empowering young parents. Here we are at Canberra airport.

Every night when a sensible person would have gone to bed, the UK was waking up and I had to catch-up on key things happening back home. I arrived home shattered and thrilled to see my family - I'd really missed them. The trip was worth the effort, laying the foundations for some interesting potential collaborators. Indeed, in June and September we will be welcoming Australian visitors coming to find out more about our work and particular the Baby Buddy app project.

Fantastic new starters at Best Beginnings

Thanks to project funding secured at the end of 201e, over the last several weeks we've recruited six superb new members of staff, taking the team to ten people. 

I'm so impressed by them all, their wealth of relevant experience, the way they've "hit the ground" running with their important work and their passion for working collaboratively to reduce inequalities in child-health. They are also all really wonderful people. They join our fab existing staff member, Lee Hall, Danielle Taylor and Jen Hughes and our Interim Professional Lead, Vicky Carne. 
It's been brilliant to see how much sharing and learning is happening across the team. Everyone is working incredibly hard, but also having fun. You can find out more about the whole team here, with a piccie of each staff member. I thought I'd say a little here about each of our lovely Newbies:
* Tina Pollard - Tina was an NHS nurse of 39 years. She joined the team in February as our Small Wonders National Facilitator. She has already organised four Champion Days across the country with the first one happening in London on June 4th. To find out more email: [email protected]

* David King - David worked in the NHS for twenty years in a variety of roles in Health Promotion, Public Health and Commissioning. He joined the team in February as our Maternal Mental Health Film Project Lead. David has already organised and Chaired the Project's first Advisory Group meeting and is convening an important Stakeholder meeting on June 5th. To find out more email: [email protected]

* Helen Hunter - Helen joined the team in March as Best Beginnings new Director of Development her role is multi-faceted and includes developing  and promoting Best Beginnings commissionable services. Helen is a trained breastfeeding counsellor and a trainer and supervisor of breastfeeding peer supporters. Prior to joining the Best Beginnings team Helen spent 3 years at NCT head office helping to develop and deliver commissioned services.

* Anna Marshall - Anna joined the team as the Apps Project Manager in March from Marie Curie as an experienced technology project manager before that she had spent years at Ambitious About Autism. Here Anna was head of information and participation and was responsible for its websites, leading on the creation and development of an online autism community.

* Katherine Hodges, joined the team in March 2014 as the Apps Information Officer to support the development of Best Beginnings’ phone apps. Her professional background is in educational publishing most recently working at City and Guilds City & Guilds creating digital learning materials. Since joining the team she has been working closely with Anna and I on the Baby Buddy app project.

That’s all for now, I’ll write again as soon as I can or I might try and do another video blog!

As always, feel free to email me at [email protected]