Pregnancy and parenthood is daunting for anyone which is why it’s vital to be able to turn to someone for advice and help.
Huddersfield is lucky that it has community group Auntie Pam’s based in the town centre which gives support with preconception, pregnancy and becoming a new parent.
Its free drop-in service offers confidential one to one support and help for issues such as housing, benefits, wellbeing and health, pregnancy information, infant feeding, stopping smoking, relationships and how to find other services for further help. There is also a swap shop for baby clothes and equipment, along with baby weigh and a library.
Auntie Pam’s has just started free infant massage classes in Huddersfield given by trained International Association of Infant Massage staff.
Service Co-ordinator Lisa Akester – part of the original team that developed the Auntie Pam’s service nearly 14 years ago – said: “Visitors can just pop in for a chat and a cuppa with a volunteer, contact us on social media, by email or phone.
“No question is too small or too silly – whatever the question, we will do our best to find the answer. Dads and other care givers are welcome to come for support too.”
Auntie Pam’s has supported families with the current cost of living crisis, linking to partner organisations, providing food parcels, infant formula, nappies and baby equipment.
It has volunteers who have been through pregnancy and parenthood from communities across Kirklees and are so good the organisation has the Kirklees Volunteering Quality Award for its gold standard service.
Auntie Pam’s staff and volunteers include stop smoking advisors who work closely with maternity services to support pregnant women to stop smoking. The most recent figures suggest only one in 10 women smoke by the time they give birth.
The experience of volunteering with Auntie Pam’s has led some of them to go on to find jobs.
Lisa added: “We support our volunteers to think about their own choices for adult learning that can be done in the friendly and supportive environment with support from senior volunteers and staff.
“Auntie Pam’s has so far trained nearly 300 local peer support volunteers. Some have moved on from volunteering with the service into full and part time employment and further education.”
Auntie Pam’s is based at 2 New Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2AR and is open Tuesday and Thursday from 10am until 3pm. The phone number is 01484 414775.
It is on Facebook as Auntie Pam’s Kirklees.
The email is email@example.com and the website is https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/auntie-pams/index.aspx