NEW mums shared stories of pregnancy and parenthood with their local MP as “vital” support services were put under the spotlight in Tidworth.
Claire Perry, of the Devizes Constituency, visited the NSPCC Tidworth Service Centre on Friday (4/11) to find out more about the work being carried out in the Drummer Lane base and across the growing garrison town through outreach work, in an effort to support both civilian and military families.
Following a tour of the building led by Service Centre manager Sharon Skelly, Claire met with parents attending a ‘Baby In Mind’ drop-in session, which helps parents or carers of babies and pre-walkers learn about their child’s development in a safe and secure setting – with access to a sensory room, soft play, toys and other activities.
The visit comes after the centre was given a Government grant of £800,000 from Libor banking fines earlier this year, allowing it to continue its range of services for at least the next three years.
Claire, who has previously led a Parliamentary Inquiry into online child protection and performed the role of special advisor to former Prime Minister David Cameron on Preventing the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood, said she was impressed at the efforts being made to support members of the local community.
The mum-of-three added: “The NSPCC Tidworth Service Centre provides incredibly important support for both military families and other local parents and children, so I was delighted to hear that the Libor fines were being put to such good use here.
“Supporting local Armed Forces families and getting the right resources in place for the thousands of new families relocating to the area over the next few years through the Army Rebasing programme is one of my local campaigning priorities, and the work being carried out here by Sharon and her team will be vital in helping to meet that need.
“It is a very welcoming place, with a lovely atmosphere and staff who make a real difference.”
Other services provided by the NSPCC in Tidworth include ‘Pregnancy in Mind’, supporting parents at risk of mild to moderate anxiety and depression during pregnancy, and Time Together, an informal group for parents and carers to play and interact with children, whilst meeting new people. The Centre’s team of children’s services practitioners (CSPs) also run a Lunch Club in local schools for children of military families, in an effort to provide emotional support in a fun environment.
Sharon said: “We were delighted to welcome Claire to the Tidworth NSPCC Service Centre, and her ongoing support for the services we provide was very pleasing.
“We know that the work we are doing is very important and we are very grateful that the new funding will help us continue that. We are very much part of the Tidworth community and would welcome anybody who would like to find out more to get in touch.”
Claire Spencer attends Baby In Mind sessions with six-month-old daughter Arwen.
She said: “Coming here provides the opportunity to get out of the house and to have interaction with other adults, and to share experiences and tips about looking after babies. But mainly it is about getting that routine back in your life after having a child in a safe and friendly environment.”
For more information about the NSPCC Tidworth Service Centre, please call 01980 846164.