Parents sign petition to save support service

A group of parents are trying to save the Community Mums and Dads service which offers support to pa

A group of parents are trying to save the Community Mums and Dads service which offers support to parents before and after birth. At the moment it looks set to close but their petition has 4,000 signatures so far. - Credit: Archant

More than 8,000 people have signed a petition to help save a popular service supporting parents before and after the birth of their children.

The petition was launched by local residents, including many from Chafford Hundred, who have used the Community Mums and Dads (CMD) scheme, after the council announced it would close at the end of August.

The Thurrock-wide service sees trained workers and volunteers visit people’s homes to offer one-to-one support in anything from breast feeding to nappy changing, and also includes parenting skills courses, and social activities to help parents get to know each other.

The council says it has been forced to end CMD because North East London Foundation Trust who currently run it did not renew their tender, and no other organisation has offered to take it on.

But mum Jess Law, who grew up in Chafford Hundred, said CMD was a “vital service” and without it many parents would struggle.

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“They were fantastic before and after my son was born,” the 27-year-old said. “For example, I was struggling to breast feed, and they visited my home and offered me loads of advice and support.

“I also took part in a parenting skills course they ran, which was really useful.

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“GPs and midwifes just don’t have the time to offer this level of support and if this service goes I don’t know where else parents can turn.”

CMD runs a weekly buggy walk from the Beacon Centre, in Drake Road, Chafford Hundred, and will be holding a special one on Tuesday August 25 from 1pm.

“I hope we can save CMD, but if we can’t then this will be the final buggy walk. It would be great if lots of people joined us.”

A second Thurrock parenting service, Parents 1st, is also set to close.

A council spokesman said the two services provide support to a “relatively small percentage of new mums as most support comes through the 0 to 5 healthy child programme care path”.

The petition is on, while there is also a Facebook campaign site. Search Community Mums and Dads on the sites to find the pages.

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