The day to day work of Forging Families is primarily done by our Lead Rachel Gardner, who creates all our posters and projects; but in actuality it is our Forging Families’s families that do most of the work.
I’d like to give a special thank you to Paul Webster – Paul has been a terrific support in our work on Dads, particularly our new website From Dads To Dads. We have plenty of work planned for Paul in the future!
Our work since October 2016 has been primarily focused on our posters and infographics, which have been a tremendous success. The majority of our posters hold the words and advice of parents to parents, which is what holds us a part, I feel. Our posters are in hospitals up and down the country and two of our posters on ‘Asking for help’ will soon be in all GP surgeries in Sheffield, which is great,
We have wonderful videos from parents to parents sharing their stories and giving hope to those parents who are currently struggling with their own mental health journey,
We have created a fantastic (we hope you agree) website just for Dads, filled with detailed information and words of advice from Dads to Dads, which gave us the website name of FromDadstoDads.org.uk.
We will be adding to this soon with a dad’s forum where dads can speak freely and anonymously about their own journeys and give practical help to other dads.
We have made 2000 fridge magnets with useful numbers for Mums and Dads to have at their finger tips. These have been given to Health Visitors to give out to families in Sheffield.
In February 2018 we held an extraordinary conference and workshop which was heralded as a tremendous success. We had over 160 families and health professionals all coming together to find ways we could better improve parental mental health.
We have finished our Forging Families book – ‘Together we are stronger’, which will be available soon.
We have just finished a project funded by the Big Lottery fund to try and reach out to families from ethnic minorities and find out how maternal mental health affects these women and how best they can be supported. This was a collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University who were undertaking a similar research project.
With the funding from the Big Lottery Fund we have also been able to translate some of our posters into seven different languages – Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu, Slovak, Arabic, Polish and Somali.
Our next big project is to run a six week course for three year olds and their parents to enhance infant mental health through drama, dance and games.
We are also working with Sheffield Public Health to find out what families want from their Baby Safe Champions and advertising their services.
Working with Rotherham hospital we are focusing on reducing baby deaths through education, particularly on stopping smoking and getting to know your baby’s movement. We are also working with Marks and Spencer’s to introduce a healthy eating stand in the maternity waiting area.
In Rotherham we have also started using the ‘Fifteen steps for maternity’ programme to get the first impessions of the maternity ward, the women asking themselves are the staff friendly, is this a safe and warm space, what information is on the walls etc.
I hope in the future to further our work with families from ethic minority communities.