The facilities, the bright space, the welcome you get at the new York Young Mums group at the Q Church on Priory Street really took me aback. ‘Baby play’ was not so well equipped when I had my first son 10 years ago and certainly there was no picnic lunch laid out for us to share.
This fortnightly group, held in a huge, but somehow cosy room behind the church has heaps of bright play mats, soft play toys and bouncers, as well as a table spread ready for a craft session.
But on talking to Clare, one of the organisers, I soon realised this meet up offered a whole host more than just your average ‘play group’. Each Young Mums session has a different crafty workshop to do things with your little ones (it was fun, messy, hand and feet painting when I was there). There’s also the opportunity for an open discussion to be had round the table, a way of offering informal and relaxed outreach for what can be an isolating time for a new mum when priorities in their lives change and new friendships and outlets are much needed.
The idea behind Young Mums came about when Clare realised there were no groups specifically for Mums under 21 in York and that these young women were affected differently to older mothers when they have children. They wanted to offer the opportunity to meet and make friends with like-aged mums, build up their self confidence, help them connect with others and to be able to have a space they feel at home in.
Alongside the informal play space, they have a Facebook group which acts as an valuable connection between the mums, and allows them to ask questions and gain advice 24/7. All four volunteers are on hand whenever someone needs support – just what every new mum needs.
In the future they will be introducing useful sessions along side the play with an emphasis on the wellbeing of the mum and baby. They will be focusing on those topics that all mums feel unsure about: baby first aid, baby lead weaning and breast feeding, for example.
They also offer advice, in a very informal way, on anything young mums need and help them source and try out products they are interested in. One young mum wanted to try out a bumbo for her child, the organisers found one on ebay and she got the chance to use it at home before she decided if she needed one for herself.
With 4 volunteers on hand at any time, and more available, the sessions can host many more young mothers, so if you know of any that would benefit from this group, please let them know. The next session is on Tuesday 1st May from 11.45am to 1.15pm and then every fortnight from then on.
Check out the Facebook group for more details or give them a ring on 07852 622101