As we start the new year, Better Start Bradford Director, Michaela Howell (pictured above right), reflects on the inspirational people and projects that motivate her to just do it: get out there and help make big changes, one step at a time.
Just do it!
It’s that time of year when we are making new year’s resolutions and thinking about how we will maintain a change in our behaviour, whether it’s exercising more, spending more time with loved ones or taking up new hobbies. Last year I started to learn how to play the piano – it’s really tough prioritising time for practice and I often (very often) feel a little overwhelmed.
Motivation and encouragement are of course essential, both at home and at work, and I am fortunate to find inspirational people all around me. One young woman who stands out to me is Alice Wilkinson, who won our 2017 Community Star award for developing and providing breastfeeding mums with a box of support and encouragement. The box contains practical things such as a fridge magnet with storage times for breast milk on it and some breast milk bags. She advised other people who have an idea to: “Just do it – there is nothing to lose. Even if you end up only helping one person, it’s worth it!”
It also reminds me of the Family Nurse Partnership’s strapline of ‘changing the world – one baby at a time’ and our colleagues in Nottingham who have called their Better Start programme ‘Small Steps, Big Changes’. Our ambition might from time to time feel a little overwhelming: to support every family with very young children in our area so that they have the best possible start in life, in terms of their health, wellbeing and life chances. But it is important not to lose sight of each individual family and each individual baby and child who has benefited, or will benefit, from what Better Start Bradford has to offer them. Sometimes a small thing can make a lot of difference.
Building on our achievements
Thanks to Better Start Bradford, more than 1,000 babies are receiving books at home via our Better Start Imagine book gifting project so they can develop a love of books and language; over 1,100 women have received a personalised service from their midwife, allowing them much longer appointments and the opportunity to develop a more trusting relationship; and 1,600 two year olds have received language support from a specialist language development worker via the Talking Together project.
In 2018 we will continue to support parents to give their children the best start by launching a range of new and exciting projects that will include: creating more play spaces, giving better access to natural play, increasing families’ confidence in cooking and we will also be helping support families to cope with a new baby, plus much more.
Taking our motivation from Alice, we will get out there and ‘just do it’.
By Michaela Howell, Director, Better Start Bradford
Details of all our projects and how you can get involved can be found on our website.