A new initiative, which aims to help expectant and new mothers give their baby the best start in life by improving their financial situation and in turn their health and wellbeing, is being piloted in Walsall.
The project, which is being rolled out by Walsall Together in partnership with Hope 4U, is funded by Western Power Distribution and offers support and guidance on accessing benefit entitlements, signing up to the Priority Services Register, ways to make savings on energy usage and costs, budgeting and assessing eligibility for grants and vouchers.
Connie Jennings, Head of Health and Wellbeing for whg and Joint Lead for Walsall Together’s Resilient Communities programme, said: “This is a great initiative and Walsall Together is proud to be the first integrated partnership to work with Hope 4U to deliver it. We know that struggling financially can have a big impact on a family’s health and well-being. The pandemic has affected lots of families through loss of job and income and it is more important than ever to do what we can to help people ease their financial pressures, improve their health and well-being and give their child/ren the best start in life possible. By offering support via the services our mums to be are using already through their pregnancy means it is easier for them to access, which is great.”
Carol Arnold, Director of Hope4U, said: "We are proud to be delivering this initiative and to be working with the partnership in supporting families in the Walsall area. At a time of celebration, it can also bring many financial pressures in preparing for a new baby. The project allows us to deliver direct support to many families and allows greater outcomes to be achieved by working with Walsall Together."
Tracy Cullen, Social Obligations Officer for Western Power Distribution, said: “We are aware this year will continue to be challenging for communities and this may have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable households. We are keen to support new projects which will provide both health and financial benefits to individuals and where access to services can be delivered at a time to suit their individual needs.”
Laura Parsons, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust Matron for Community/MLU/OPD, welcomed the new initiative. She said: “Financial concerns and pressures can have a massive impact on our mums-to-be at a time when they need to focus on their health and wellbeing and that of their baby. To be able to ease this worry through the support being offered will make a significant difference to the lives of so many Walsall families.”
Referrals into the service are made by the midwifery team at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust. Interpreters from the Trust will also be supporting families where English is not their first language to ensure access for all who need it.