Community Corner - Our regular spotlight on a grassroots VCS organisation in the perinatal mental health sector

Community Corner - Our regular spotlight on a grassroots VCS organisation in the perinatal mental health sector

What is the name of your organisation and when did you set up?

Frome Birth Talk. We started raising money for a counselling service in 2017 and were established as a charity in November 2017

What prompted you to set up in the first place?

Karen Patrick, a midwife at Frome Birth Centre, realised that an existing counselling service for users of Frome Community Hospital was being wound down and wanted to put something in place to carry on supporting local women

Where are you based?

Frome, in Somerset, but we offer our services to anyone who is eligible to use Frome Birth Centre, so people come to us from nearby villages and towns, such as Westbury, Warminster and parts of Trowbridge.

What services do you offer and who do you support?

We offer free one-to-one counselling for anyone who is pregnant or had a baby in the last year. We also support people who have experienced baby loss. Until recently this was a service for women only, but we’ve now changed our constitution to include everyone. We also run two weekly groups, one for pregnant people and parents of newborns and one for those with children who are on the move. We also run wellbeing events and classes.

What do you find most rewarding about running your service?

Knowing that our work can change the lives of people who come for counselling, as well as their children, families and wider community.

How might it be helpful to you and your organisation to come together as a wider VCS perinatal mental health community & work more closely?

We are a small team and we all work from home, so it’s really good to connect with others and know that other organisations come across the same opportunities and challenges as us! It’s also a great way of sharing skills and expertise.

If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice when starting-up, what would it be?

Be prepared for far more work than you anticipated and accept help!

If money and resources were no issue and you could wave a magic wand and change any part of your service - what would you change and why?

We would have a beautiful, staffed space where people could drop in any time and just be with other supportive people.

If you could give all parents a super-power what would that be and why?

Expectations on parents are huge, so it would be really great to be able to freeze time. That way you could nap for as long as you liked, get all your work and life admin done, earn money, look after yourself and still be able to spend quality time with your children.

Anything you’d like to tell us about your service or organisation? Any recent wins or things to celebrate?

We are really proud of what we’ve achieved since we started. We are also constantly inspired by our community and the love and support they provide. We never have to explain the reasons for what we do, as anyone who has had anything to do with babies and raising children instantly understands the value of such support.