Young families enjoy special Family Nurse Partnership picnic

Young mums and their children got together for a special Teddy Bears’ Picnic organised by East Coast Community Healthcare’s Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) on Lowestoft seafront.

Babies and toddlers whose start in life was helped along by one of the family nurses arrived at South Beach, next to Claremont Pier, cuddling their teddies. They took part in a sandcastle competition and splashed in a paddling pool the team had brought along.

The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) is a voluntary home visiting programme for first time young mums, aged 19 years and under. A specially trained family nurse visits the young mum from early pregnancy and supports them until the child reaches two years of age. They offer advice on all aspects of the baby’s birth and care as well as helping them with issues such as arranging housing, obtaining benefits and continuing their studies.

ECCH’s Family Nurse Supervisor, Nicole Hobson, said: “Teenage parents often feel judged and stigmatised, and find it difficult to access community services, so they can often feel lonely and isolated. Each year we host an event to bring together present and past parents and children and give them a chance to chat, share their experiences and build friendships, as well as celebrating their own achievements in being the best parents they can be.”

This year it is a double celebration for the families and FNP team as Suffolk County Council has announced it will continue to commission the service until 2019.

The Family Nurse Partnership has been developed over the past 30 years, originating in the USA. It began in England in 2007. It aims to enable young families to have a healthy pregnancy, improve their child’s health and development, plan their own futures and achieve their aspirations and goals. There are now more than 80 sites across England offering places to more than 10,000 families.