2014 has been quite a year for Best Beginnings. Thank you for helping us achieve so much and for helping us to step into 2015 with confidence and positivity.

We welcome all of our new supporters who joined the Best Beginnings family this year, and we are so grateful for the ongoing support of those who have been in the family for a while now.

Our team wanted to share with you their personal highlights of 2014. These couldn’t have happened without you, so thank you!

Alison Baum, Founder and CEO – It has been a year of highlights, as my wonderful team will share.  It's incredible to think that it was a year ago to the day that we secured the Big Lottery funding and that already Baby Buddy has been downoaded by more than 10,000 people and that we've already received phenomenal feedback.  There are other highlights for me that are less well known but which will pave the way to enable Best Beginnings to have more reach and impact with families across the UK in 2015 and beyond. This includes the creation of the Baby Express magazine and the fact that we now have four team members who have midwifery, health visiting and nursing expertise. Our in-house professionals are actively supporting embedding Best Beginnings' resources in localities across the UK. I'm immensely proud of all my team and of all we are achieving in collaboration with parents, professionals and other charities across the country.

Katherine Hodges, App Project Digital Lead - Before the Baby Buddy launch we filmed Emily, a community midwife at St. Thomas' Hospital, talking about using Baby Buddy in practice. She told us that a teenage mum she had been working with was finding breastfeeding quite difficult and was worried that she might give up on it.  Emily introduced the video function in Baby Buddy and encouraged the young mum to watch the breastfeeding clips whilst trying to get her baby to latch onto the breast.  With the support of both Emily and Baby Buddy, this mum was exclusively breastfeeding six weeks later.   It is so inspiring to hear how the Baby Buddy app is already having a positive impact for professionals, parents and babies.

Esther Sharma, National Facilitator (and midwife) - My highlight of 2014 is joining the Best Beginnings team and being part of a phenomenal team doing the most amazing work.  It's truly a privilege.

Vicky Carne, Professional and Policy Lead and Interim Small Wonders National Facilitator (and midwife) – It’s always great to hear positive feedback.  This year we ran four Small Wonders Champions Events, funded by the Department of Health. From the 93 evaluation forms completed – 84% rated the day as “excellent” and 16% as “very good”; 100% of delegates indicated that the day had helped equip them with the knowledge and confidence to embed Small Wonders in their hospitals.

Lee, Finance and Office Manager - I worked on the end of year accounts - it was the first time our income went over £1 million so quite a milestone for us!

Danielle Taylor, Fundraising Manager – As a fundraiser it’s always so wonderful to hear how the money we are raising is helping people directly, so my personal highlight this year was to hear young mums Nicolle James and Emillie-Mai McCormack speaking so passionately about the importance of Baby Buddy to them and their families at the launch event. (To hear their words and the other speeches from the launch night click here)

Helen Hunter, Director of Development – It has been a real pleasure to see the Best Beginnings team grow this year.  Its fantastic that we now have a core team of highly professional facilitators and coordinators who are working to encourage the use of and embed our full package of resources into care pathways across the country. My highlights have been meeting commisisoners across the country, co-facilitating our workshops and getting fantastic feedback.

Emily Hall, Administrator - One highlight for me was meeting lots of different people at the Baby Buddy launch and experiencing first hand their energy and enthusiasm for the app and its potential.

Joanna Nosalik, Project Coordinator -  It has been inspiring being part of a great team that is creating a website for the 1001 Critical Days Coalition, of which Best Beginnings is a proud member.

David King, Maternal Mental Health Project Lead – My highlight of the year was hearing in July that we had secured additional funding from the Burdett Trust for the Maternal Mental Health Project. In addition to making much needed films for families about maternal mental health, we will be making films to help staff development as well as an exciting new drama to tell the story of a young woman on her personal journey dealing with mental health and pregnancy. We are also looking forward to welcoming Barbara Jason, a health visitor, to the team next year.  Barbara will be working with us to embed this Best Beginnings resource into practice across the UK.

Helen Daly, Baby Express Lead and Conference Coordinator – As well as getting 10 completely new issues of Baby Express created, with input from parents and professionals, to the printer and into the hands of 20,000 families in Greater Manchester, the Best Beginnings team has taken part in over 50 conferences, which involved a grand total of 8,000 delegates, in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Natasha Jones, EA to Alison Baum - My highlight was when we got the final designs back for our new website. It’s different to what we have now but all of the team have worked really hard on it and I’m looking forward to it being up and running in the new year.

Fiona Dry, North of England Regional Facilitator (and midwife)- I joined the team in November as the North of England Regional Facilitator, and it has been an amazing start for me! The week of the Baby Buddy app launch was inspiring and I am so excited to continue and expand Best Beginnings' projects across the North of England in the New Year.

Jen Hughes, Fundraising Officer – My highlight of 2014 was being chosen again as one of the benefiting charities of the Glorious Goodwood Regency Ball and Magnolia Cup, bringing in much needed unrestricted funding for Best Beginnings. Celeb spot of the year...TOM CRUISE!

Anna Marshall, App Project Manager - 2014 has been a real whirlwind of a year – I only joined Best Beginnings in March and yet the team has achieved so much in that time.  We’ve not only launched the Baby Buddy app, but achieved endorsement for it from the Department of Health as well as seven other key organisations.  It’s been hard work but incredibly rewarding to see it all come together in such a short space of time!

Julie Williams, South of England Regional Facilitator (and midwife and health visitor) - Being a new member of staff I feel very welcomed by the Best Beginnings team and look forward to working with everyone to deliver the embedding programme in the South East.

Dr Sylvie Cooper, Research Lead - My personal highlight of 2014 was conducting focus groups with young parents, hearing their thoughts and enthusiasm for Baby Buddy.  Their input has already informed improvements of Baby Buddy. I am looking forward to working on the Baby Buddy evaluation in 2015.