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Giving new parents the opportunity to 'Bloom'

Since opening in September 2019, we have run a weekly group called CAKE which we rebranded in January 2020 to Bloom; aimed at supporting new parents in their journey into parenthood, with a specific focus on new mothers. It was a weekly session aimed at providing a safe space for new mothers to come to. We provided a lovely, large, community room, hot and cold refreshments and plenty of cake and snacks, but most importantly we created a friendly space for them to come to meet other new parents and form lifelong friendships.

Our aim was to support women in learning vital skills for motherhood, including infant feeding, weaning, first aid, postnatal fitness, as well as many other practical skills and advice. We seek to support all new mothers, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, economic background or otherwise and specifically look to ensure that every mother that attends, is made to feel valued and welcomed. There is no judgement at our community space.

So why do we feel it’s so important to run Bloom?

Both Kate and Laura, from the very early days of their motherhood journeys, struggled to feel as if they fitted in, in some way. Whilst they both lived in an area, plush with mother and baby groups, these groups were often about the babies-which is great, but actually sometimes, they felt that they wanted to find a group that was actually more about the mother and their development and their journey. It’s not to say that these groups aren’t brilliant, they are, but Bloom is about supporting women, to find themselves again, to support them to make friendships and to watch them slowly, start to Bloom again. There are approximately 8000 babies born across East Surrey every year, almost 2000 of those into the Reigate and Banstead area. At present, there are three baby cafes, which support breastfeeding needs, but with

the reduced number of children’s centres and spaces to go for new mums, we very much wanted to embrace and enhance the services offered. We believe there is an absolute need for this group, supporting both women’s mental health and loneliness in motherhood.

How has lockdown changed what we offer?

As you all know, lockdown has fundamentally changed the way in which we can offer our services and us, like many others, have had to work out a new way in which to reach out to our regular attendees and find news ones. We decided to take our Bloom session online and offer the same day and time so that there was no confusion for regular attendees. We have been so far offered an amazing 14 Bloom LIVES, which can all be found over on our Facebook page and Instagram account. We have had some brilliant guests, discussing all manner of topics that are important to new and expectant mothers, in fact, all mothers. We have really enjoyed being able to offer this service and we hope that more and more women can watch and take comfort from what we have to share.

The future?

Right now, we don’t know what the future looks like, but what we do know is that we will always continue to run Bloom. We really look forward to the day when we can open our doors or hold the sessions outside perhaps in the summer months. The sessions are totally free to attend, we simply ask for a donation towards refreshments to support us with our costs.

We were very excited to be chosen for funding by the Community Foundation for Surrey, to support Bloom for an entire year and support costs associated with feeding support, health support and family support. We cannot wait to share more about our plans and what we have in store, we really cant.

For now, please give us a watch or follow on a Thursday morning. If you are a new mum, come along, watch and grab your cuppa. Drop us a message, we would love to hear from you. If you are interested to host at Bloom, equally drop us an email.

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