Little Angels pre-school raise £1,000 to support infant loss
Staff and families from Little Angels Pre-School in Nantwich have raised £1,000 to support a project which helps women who have suffered miscarriages, stillbirths or any kind of infant loss, called ‘Cherry Therapy’.
Two of the staff members, Debbie Thelwell and Moira Rivers took part in a sponsored open water swim at Manley Mere, which was organised by Motherwell Cheshire. The money raised through their sponsorship and other fundraising activities has been donated to Motherwell Cheshire and the Neo-Natal ward at Leighton Hospital.
Motherwell Cheshire CEO, Kate Blakemore, said: “I know how difficult it is for women suffering the loss of an infant during pregnancy, birth or early childhood and Cherry Therapy is designed to support them when they need it most. We are so grateful to the Little Angels Pre-School team for all of their hard work and commitment to fundraising for this brilliant cause”.
Cherry Blossom Infant Loss offers counselling and peer support groups in Crewe and Winsford. Women can self-refer direct to Motherwell Cheshire, which avoids delays and ensures they can access the support they need quickly.
Debbie Thelwell, owner of Little Angels Pre-School, said: “The open water swim isn’t something we would normally do and we put a lot of time and effort into our training because it meant a lot to us to raise money for this important cause. I’d like to thank all of the staff and families from the nursery for their fundraising support. This money will make a real difference to women suffering infant loss”.
Cherry Blossom is available via self-referral, anyone interested just needs to email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Seeking experienced mothers for mentors
Charity Motherwell Cheshire is seeking experienced mothers to volunteers for its mentoring programme ‘Bright Stars’.
Bright Stars matches women over 50 to younger mums who might benefit from their experience as a mentor. It is one of Motherwell’s signature projects and has been a success since it first began earlier this year.
The mentoring programme is funded by Brightlife, a National Lottery funded partnership led by Age UK Cheshire, which supports projects designed to combat loneliness and isolation in the over 50’s. It connects older women with younger mums who have mental health and/or family breakdown issues.
Motherwell Cheshire CEO, Kate Blakemore, said: “At Motherwell we help lots of women with their motherhood journey. Many haven’t got their own mothers around to support them so we came up with the idea for the mentoring project. It is a real win-win because some of the older women are experiencing things like empty-nest syndrome and it helps them too. The mentoring relationship is designed to be long-term over a couple of years so that trust is built up and a deep relationship forms. This can be life changing for both women.”
The women receive coaching, training and safeguarding guidance which enables them to know how to handle some of the challenges that they might be presented with. The Motherwell team then matches them to a mentee based on their experience and personality.
Debbie Sharred, 57, is a mentor and said: “I consider myself lucky to have had a wonderful supportive mum when my kids were little and I don’t know what I would have done without her help. As a mature mum with lots of time on my hands in the daytime, becoming a mentor has allowed me to pass on my experience and skills to help other mums. It’s more than going for a coffee and a chat. One of the things I do is to encourage my mentee to think about the future and try and plan with them.
“It is really fulfilling and rewarding and has given me a new purpose in life. I look forward to meeting with my mentee with her updates of what she's done. I have also met some new friends in the other mentors as we get together to swap experiences and bounce ideas off one another.”
The Motherwell Cheshire team is actively seeking new mentors and will provide full training. Any women looking to get involved as a mentor can email: email@example.com
Women took the plunge to tackle an open water fundraiser
The event, at Manley Mere in Frodsham, saw swimmers diving in to support those who have sadly lost an infant.
Cheshire charity Motherwell, founded in 2015, organised the swim to raise awareness and funding of their new project ‘Cherry Therapy’ which will help to provide support for women who have suffered any kind of infant loss during pregnancy, birth or early childhood.
Taking place on Saturday, July 14, the session saw 25 women taking on a range of distances from half a mile to three miles depending on their ability. The swimmers include a team of five midwives from One to One Midwives in Ellesmere Port.
Organisers say swimming is known to be beneficial for improving mental health and overall wellbeing as it is can be a relaxing and meditative exercise reducing stress while the weightlessness of water can have a calming effect on the mind.
The benefits of being outside in nature has also been widely promoted to help lift mood, reduce anxiety and depression.
Motherwell Cheshire founder Kate Blakemore set up the charity inspired by her own difficulties with pregnancy and childbirth.
Living and working in two of the most deprived communities in the country she identified a need to support mothers who were experiencing difficulties with the charity now supporting women and mums across Cheshire to enjoy positive health and wellbeing.
“At Motherwell we are always looking for different activities which bring women together,” she said. “The idea behind the open water swim was to help women who have suffered loss, or support women with their loss, to improve their frame of mind and set themselves a personal goal to achieve.
“In training for the swim we have actually found that the women taking part have formed some really strong bonds and friendships. Outside of the water we also had a Facebook support group for the swimmers where they all spurred one another on and encouraged the achievement of their individual goals.
Dianne Parrish, founder of #ChesterFrosties, a social open water swimming group which has been supporting the women with their personal challenges, said: “My first open water swim experience was at Manley Mere back in 2013 and it is a great location to literally dip your toe in the water.
“I have been so impressed with the women who have come together to do this swim for Motherwell as they have all been setting goals and really going for it. I am sure this won’t be the end of their open water swimming experience.”