We are so excited to announce that we have received funding from Magic Little Grants for Virtual Walks and Talks.
We know exercise is important for good mental health, so we want to combine an emotional support service with walking, for even more benefits to women. We want to offer our unique support via ‘Virtual Walk and Talks’, where you can explore their hopes and fears about childbirth, or debrief a previous experience, with experienced staff who will listen and understand without judgement.
These will be very much like our Holding Space sessions, with the added benefit of being able to walk and connect with nature at the same time. All you need is a phone that can access zoom, headphones and perhaps a warm drink!
If you would like to book in one of these sessions please get in touch. We can’t wait to hear from you.
This week started off on an incredible high with the news that we are being awarded almost £12,000 in National Lottery Funding for our COVID-19 response project.
This is going to make a significant difference to women in our community and means that we can confidently offer fully funded support to any woman who wants and needs it.
Why have a COVID-19 response project?
It quickly became clear that pregnant women and new mothers are being hugely affected by the new measures put in place due to the pandemic. This includes restrictions imposed by individual Trusts, inconsistently and without first exhausting alternatives, in direct opposition to guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. There are also many doulas who are not able to provide their services to women in our community, and as a result, we have experienced an increase in the number of women asking for our support.
Women have the right to choose where to give birth and with whom, but those options are rapidly being taken away from them or made completely inaccessible, making women believe that they no longer have a choice. Women, now more than ever, need personalised emotional and informational support whilst navigating the maternity services in the state that they are currently in.
Women who report birth trauma are most often not talking about the physical birth process, but the way they were treated during labour and birth. During the COVID-19 pandemic so far we have already witnessed the stripping away of women’s options for labour and birth, and women are fearful of the consequences of the restrictions put in place.
During this pandemic, women are likely to be and are already being subjected to human rights violations and unnecessary interventions under coercion – leading to an increased risk of traumatic birth experiences. There is also the added risk associated with isolation of new mothers, whilst being separated from their friends and family who would ordinarily be part of her support system. These two things will lead to an increase in postnatal depression and PTSD which will have a long term impact on the overall well-being of both the woman and her baby.
What are you planning on doing?
This funding will be used to deliver one-to-one support sessions and community groups via video chat, for women planning their birth during the pandemic and women who are facing or who have experienced birth trauma as a result of COVID-19. We will be facilitating community groups, and providing Holding Space sessions and birth doula support (both face to face and virtually), free of charge for any woman who cannot afford to pay.
We aim to create a safe space for women to access emotional and informational support and to help them feel less isolated and more supported and empowered in their birth choices. We will help women to navigate the new restrictions within maternity services and support them emotionally through unexpected changes to their birth plans. This will extend to virtual support during labour and birth for women with additional vulnerabilities. For women who are facing the trauma of birthing alone because of COVID-19 restrictions, we will provide in-person physical, practical and emotional support throughout their labour and birth.
We are sending all our thanks to National Lottery players and The National Lottery Community Fund for recognising the importance of our work. It has been a much needed boost being awarded funding during a time that is scary and uncertain for both women and small organisations like ourselves. We hope you are as excited as we are that we will be able to continue to support women, even during a global pandemic!
If you are a woman who could benefit from this project please get in touch, we would love to hear from you.
Happy Saturday! And happy full moon weekend 🌕This snow full moon will be the first super moon of the decade and we’re certainly feeling her energy! Despite that, we hope you’re able to have a relaxing peaceful weekend.
It’s that time again. Here’s our Saturday Send Out 📫. Grab a cuppa and get cosy…
What we’ve been up to
It has felt like a really productive week this week. Working on various funding applications, facilitating groups and connecting with wonderful women. It seems like winter hibernation is still calling lots of us and the need to turn inward and rest is still great. But the beautiful sunshine and blue skies over the last few days has certainly given us a new energy as the season begins to change.
Elle and I had a huge surprise this week as we were asked to go and collect a cheque from Asda in Rochdale. We knew we were part of their recent green token giving but had no idea how we had done or how much we had won. We could not believe it when we arrived to find that not only had we won, but the amount had been doubled because we were in store over Christmas! This money will help us to set up a free pool hire service that will sit alongside our existing Holding Space service – accessible pool hire with valuable emotional support to help you prepare for and debrief your birth. We are super excited so watch this space!!
Questions for the doulas
Favourite Ed Sheeran song?
A: ‘You need me’ because I know all the words and it’s great to rap really loud in the car! L: Depends on which mood I’m in. I like singing ‘Gold Rush’ E: I’m a big fan of the brief silences between his many songs
Which Harry Potter house would you be in?
E: I don’t know, the only thing about Harry potter I like is Wizards Unite. A: Hufflepuff L: Hufflepuff for sure! Never part of the cool crowd but patient, loyal and all about fair play. Elle won’t play but I think she’d be Ravenclaw; so wise with a sharp wit and love of learning.
How have you been looking after your mental health?
L: Reaching out for help when I’m struggling and reminding myself that the hard days won’t last forever. E:I just bought myself a PlayStation Now subscription, so my mental health is taken care of for the next year. A: Getting lots of fresh air and taking time to myself.
Do you consider yourself and introvert or an extrovert?
A: Introvert definitely. L: Highly introverted! E: The introvert-est.
Are you usually early or late?
E: Don’t think I’ve ever been early, except by accident. A: I would much rather be really early than a minute late L: As much as the people pleaser in me wants to be early, I’m often running late!
Are you a cat or a dog person?
L: An animal person?! I love dogs 🐕 but I have so much love for my childhood cat Teddy. E: Getting dogs has made me appreciate cats more. A: I’m more of a cat person because I love their independence, but Elle’s dogs are winning me over.
What’s coming up
Next week we’ll be diving deep into planning and preparation for exciting projects we’ve got in the pipeline. Hopefully connecting more with our volunteers and keeping the productivity flowing!
It’s our monthly home birth group tomorrow morning for anyone interested in home birth. Whether you have questions or want to share your story, you and your family are welcome. There will be biscuits and brews and toys for any little ones who come.
The Wild Mothering Circle will hopefully be meeting again on Friday. We’re looking forward to reconnecting with this sisterhood after a couple of cancelled meets! If you are a woman who wants to be part of this village we would love to see you there.
This Friday there is also an event inviting those who have used maternity services in the last couple of years to talk about their postnatal experiences. This is part of the work to improve maternity services in Greater Manchester. Sadly our little ones have an inset day so Elle and Lori won’t be able to make it but you can reserve your space here.
How can you help at the minute?
We are keen to get our pool hire service off the ground as quickly as possible. If you have a pool or any accessories that you would like to donate, they would be hugely appreciated. Our first pool Nell was donated by a wonderful family after their beautiful home birth, and has already been used by two other families 💕.
Are you a Jigsaw Homes resident? If so you can vote for our community project on the Jigsaw Rewards website. Your votes will help women and their families in Miles Platting and surrounding areas to access much needed support around pregnancy, birth and beyond.
As always we’d love to hear from you so tell us how you’re doing and what you’ve been up to. If there are events you’d like us to share, or there’s a topic you’d like us to shine a light on get in touch.
Great news – we have been chosen as a Co-op Local Cause!
When members shop with at the Co-op, 1% of what they spend on some branded products and services goes to support local causes through their Local Community Fund.
If you choose us as your Local Cause you will be helping to provide 1:1 doula support for women with vulnerabilities across Greater Manchester.
How much money will you get?
That depends on how many people choose to support us! We have a year as a Local Cause funds, so please help raise as much as we can.
How can I help?
There are a few ways you can help.
Become a member of the Co op, and choose us as your local cause
Ask your family and friends to do the same, even if they live far away
Share our fundraising page and our cause – help us spread the word
Connect us with any press or media contacts
How do I choose Greater Manchester Doulas CIC as my Local Cause?
It’s easy! First, sign up to be a member if you haven’t already. Then either login to your account, or give the Co op a call (we recently did this ourselves and found them to be really friendly and helpful) on 0800 023 4708.
I can’t see your cause when I login…
You can search for a cause up to 15 miles away using the drop down menu on this page.
If we are further from you than that you can still choose us as your cause, just use the link to our Co op page.
You can follow our cause and see how much members have raised so far here.
Thanks so much for your support. By supporting us you are helping women across Greater Manchester to access the support the deserve.
Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores awarded to local community projects.
Greater Manchester Doulas CIC, along with two other groups have been shortlisted in the Hale & Altrincham Tesco region, to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.
Our project offers women with vulnerabilities continuous support throughout pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. With the funding we will be able to offer this service for free, for up to five women who are have vulnerabilities related to domestic abuse, previous trauma, mental health, age, disability, residency status and/or being alone. By working with these women we are addressing the need for bespoke support to complex clients and offering support that may not otherwise be available to them.
As always, your support with this is hugely valued and we would love for you to pop down to the stores and vote for us! Voting will take place from Sunday 1st July to Friday 31st August 2018 at Tesco Extra Altrincham and Tesco Express Hale.
We were so excited last month to be able to share the news, that after weeks of hard work and waiting (lots of waiting!!!), we are officially a community interest company (CIC)! We received our certificate of incorporation for Greater Manchester Doulas Community Interest Company, our not-for-profit social enterprise.
A CIC is a special type of limited company which exists to benefit the community rather than private shareholders. As a CIC, we are regulated by the CIC regulator to ensure that our activities fulfil a community purpose and that all assets are used for this community purpose.
What does this mean?
Becoming a CIC won’t really change how we work with women in the short term. We have always aimed to support women across the North West throughout their reproductive experiences, and this won’t change. What we hope will change over the coming months is how accessible our services are to women, and to create stronger connections with communities.
We have always been aware that finances and other circumstances are often a barrier for those seeking out doula support, in particular women who have vulnerabilities. Being a social enterprise gives us a better foundation and infrastructure so we can work on bridging this gap.
With funding and donations we are able to offer our services for free or at a reduced rate to women with vulnerabilities and / or experiencing financial hardship. Through being accessible to all women, regardless of their circumstances, we are addressing the need for bespoke support to complex clients and offering support that may not otherwise be available to them.
We also hope to create community peer support groups, creating opportunities for women in the community to come together and establish positive social networks with like minded individuals. After all, what is more powerful than women supporting other women?
How can I help?
As a startup social enterprise, we rely heavily on support from people like you. Any support you can offer is so very much appreciated! Here are just a couple of the ways you can support us currently:
Like, share and engage with our posts on social media to help spread the word about what we do.
Make a donation, no matter how small, every little helps!
Donations can be made in cash if you fancy meeting up for a brew, through PayPal, or by bank transfer (get in touch for details).
We are so excited about the future for Greater Manchester Doulas CIC and we hope you continue to follow us on our journey!