Three Best Beginnings projects receive key support and funding.

Free films about Perinatal Maternal Mental Health

In his Ministerial Address at the 2013 Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Conference, Dr Daniel Poulter MP announced that Best Beginnings has successfully secured funding to produce a series of films about perinatal maternal mental health.

Up to one in ten women will suffer from mental illness that can occur during pregnancy and in the year after birth. These perinatal mental health illnesses range in nature and severity and include anxiety, postnatal depression and the much rarer life threatening post partum psychosis.  

Our engaging evidence-based films, created by Best Beginnings in partnership with Heirloom Media and funded by the Galvani Foundation, will provide expectant and new mothers, their families, and the health and social care staff who support them, with the information they need to help prevent perinatal mental health problems and to ensure that women who do experience mental illness receive the best support available, at the right time. Without this support, there is strong evidence of significant adverse outcomes for women, their babies and their families.  However, with the right information, professionals and families can make a real difference.

Dr Poulter MP said about the news: "I know that in the last two weeks Best Beginnings has secured £100k funding from the Galvani Foundation to make a series of films about perinatal mental health. You will already be familiar with the Best Beginnings DVDs on breastfeeding and neonatal care. This series of films will be for mothers and their families, for professionals and some will be created specifically to support staff development and service improvement. Best Beginnings want to work closely with key partners including the College and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance to ensure it has maximum reach and impact."

As always, Best Beginnings will be working collaboratively with a number of key organisations and individuals including the newly formed Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) to ensure that this project has maximum reach and impact. We would like to thank the Minister for drawing attention to Best Beginnings' upcoming film project and for his overall commitment to support perinatal mental health including his commitment to host a MMHA Round Table annual and his committment to create a new training module for midwives on perinatal mental health by 2015.

With thanks to the Galvani Foundation, Best Beginnings is recruiting for a Project Coordinator for this project. (As of 12th December, applications for the post are now closed.

Best Beginnings is also absolutely delighted to announce that the Department of Health will be funding two crucial developments for our existing Small Wonders and From Bump to Breastfeeding DVD projects:

The Small Wonders Change Programme

The Small Wonders DVD was launched in 2012 to be a source of information, support and empowerment to enable parents of premature and sick babies to be at the heart of their babies care in ways that will improve health and wellbeing outcomes.  78,000 copies of the DVD have been distributed and are being used in over 160 hospitals throughout England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The DVD has also been endorsed by over 20 organisations, including a number of Royal Colleges. We have had the wonderful news that the Department of Health is funding Best Beginnings to;

  • Produce 100,000 free DVDs for hospitals across England to be used in neonatal units and also to be given antenatally where a mother is at high risk of delivering a pre-term and/or sick baby. 
  • Recruit a 4 day a week National Facilitator to support our network of Small Wonders Champions across England 
  • Deliver four “Small Wonders Champions days” during 2014.  Champions Days involve dynamic workshops where Small Wonders Champions from different hospitals can learn from and energise each other, and also gain insights from Best Beginnings about how to best embed the project within their hospitals and find ways to integrate this work with other important initiatives.

Here is what Dr Jacqueline Cornish, the National Clinical Director for Children and Young People at NHS England has said about this: “Since its launch in 2012, I’ve seen how the Small Wonders DVD has been used as an effective catalyst for change supporting culture-shift in hospitals across the UK towards more family-centred care for babies born premature and sick. I am delighted that the Department of Health is funding the duplication of the next 100,000 copies of the Small Wonders DVDs and also funding a National Small Wonders Facilitator who will support the 425 plus multi-disciplinary Small Wonders Champions to effectively embed the DVD into use in all hospitals across England.”

With thanks to the Department of Health, Best Beginnings is now recruiting for a Small Wonders National Facilitator. To find out more
click here. The closing date for applications is Thursday 9th January.

Updating our From Bump to Breastfeeding DVD

Nearly two million copies of the From Bump to Breastfeeding DVD have been distributed throughout the UK since its launch in 2008.  Plans are now in place to roll out a re-mastered version across England with updated commentary signed off by UNICEF and the RCM and incorporation of an Arabic version.

Best Beginnings is passionate about supporting women to breastfeed, arming them with the knowledge, confidence and skills to give their children the best start in life. The FBTB DVD not only helps parents directly but also supports midwives and health visitors, helping them in their work to support women to breastfeed. We know that a multi-faceted approach is needed to shift breastfeeding culture. By working in collaboration we can have a greater impact on breastfeeding rates and attitudes.

The FBTB DVD is now available for commissioning bodies to invest in at a local level alongside the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative. We can help professionals get the DVD back in their area and support them to create a bespoke version, customising the cover with a logo and local information. To find out more click here.

David Foster, Deputy Director of Nursing and Midwifery Advisor for the Department of Health has shown his support by saying: “From Bump to Breastfeeding is a great DVD.  Its messages are clear and there can be no clearer message than the importance and value of breastfeeding.  The benefits of breastfeeding extend way beyond just nutrition by strongly influencing physical and mental development and protecting the baby’s health. I am delighted the Department of Health has been able to support the updating of the DVD as a powerful tool as part of our continuous striving to increase the numbers of mothers who breastfeed.”

With thanks to the Philip King Trust and the Tedworth Trust, Best Beginnings has recruited a Business Development Manager who will be starting in early 2014.

At Best Beginnings we are immensly grateful to the Department of Health, the Galvani Foundation, Tedworth Trust and the Philip King Trust for enabling us to recruit for and deliver this three important projects. You are enabling us to undertake work that will drive change across the UK for children and families.  I also want to take a moment to thank our corporate supporter IMG for choosing us as the official charity for the opening night of the Statoil Masters Tennis 2013 at the Royal Albert Hall from 4th-8th December. Money raised through this fantastic event will provide vital core-funding to ensure Best Beginnings is here to deliver its key charitable work. A heartfelt thank you to all our supporters. Together we can make a difference for future generations.

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