Volunteers help charity make ‘a huge difference’ for young families

The UK’s largest parenting charity is putting out an urgent call for fresh volunteers and community support.

The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) helps over a million parents every year on their journey through pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.

Run entirely by volunteers, the NCT’s West Sussex Coastal branch extends from Littlehampton to Emsworth.

It not only offers pre- and post-natal courses for parents, a cloth nappy library and three nearly-new sales every year, offering pre-loved baby and children’s clothes, toys, equipment and books, but also brings together parents of babies and young children.

West Sussex Coastal NCT press and publicity officer Natalie Longhurst said: “The ‘NCT friends’ I made when I had my daughter seven years ago were amazing, we met regularly and I developed some really close friendships with other parents that had children of a similar age. I’m not sure how I would have survived those first few months without them.”

Natalie said the team would like to run more events, but needs additional volunteers to help make this happen.

Last June, the branch was on the brink of closure: “Then, in July, we were extremely lucky to gain a new branch chair, Alice Duckworth, who came to lead the team with a wealth of new ideas and inspiration. Alice is passionate about creating a community among local parents and offering services that can’t always be found easily.”

Natalie said help from additional volunteers and organisations would enable the charity to run first aid courses for children.

Another plan is to link in with businesses in the area to provide services to support parents and babies, such as baby massage and pelvic floor exercise classes.

A summer family fun event for children of all ages is also on the cards.

To make this happen, volunteers are ‘really needed’ to help the NCT run branch activities and help support families in the community.

Natalie said: “The volunteer team are a supportive group of parents and grandparents who are used to making sure the volunteer work fits around family needs.

“On average, we usually ask for one to two hours a week of support.

“It can make such a huge difference to the running of events and services when the workload can be shared.” 

To find out more about how to volunteer or get involved, email branch.westsussexcoastal@nct.org.uk

Tea, cake and lots of fun

The chance to meet over a cuppa while your toddler plays in a safe, stimulating environment is just one of a range of family-focused events being offered by a Chichester school to the parents of young children.

Westbourne House School has committed to sponsoring the West Sussex Coastal branch of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) as part of the charity’s current process of regeneration.

The school will host a range of exciting activities for young families.

Natalie Longhurst, press and publicity officer, West Sussex Coastal NCT, said: “We were seeking sponsorship from local organisations to help contribute towards the running costs of the branch. 

“We were keen to find a branch sponsor that had a synergy with the services we provide.

“When we started talking to Westbourne House, we realised they were a great fit with the work we are doing.”

The West Sussex Coastal branch will work closely with Westbourne House at its ‘very popular’ nearly new sales.

It will also be involved in the school’s Creativity Fun Day on March 17, where children aged two to 10 have the chance to take part in art, drama, music and dance workshops. 

In addition, the Westbourne House Pre-Prep school will host a new NCT Bumps, Babies and Beyond toddler group. Launching on Friday, April 20, the group will be held in the school’s Pre-Prep Hall and is aimed at the parents of pre-school children.

Those attending will be asked to make a £2 donation to the NCT.

Westbourne House Head of Pre-Prep Elect Caroline Oglethorpe said: “We are delighted to provide a venue for the NCT’s latest mother and toddler group.

“We look forward to meeting new parents, engaging children in creative activities whilst providing some home-made refreshments.” 

Westbourne House’s head of marketing Lainey Franks said: “Sponsoring the local branch of the NCT gives us the opportunity to engage with the local community and to share our passion about children’s learning and development with parents.”

To find out how to get involved with the West Sussex Coastal branch and see what’s going on, see https://www.nct.org.uk/branches/west-sussex or look up https://www.facebook.com/westsussexcoastalnct/

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