Taking Baby Steps CIC was formed in September 2022 by Registered Midwives Sue Oxendale and Jane Bamford, who have a combined 35 years of experience working for the NHS.
Sue has worked primarily as a specialist bereavement support midwife for the last 7 years, whilst Jane has worked as a clinical midwife with a specialist interest in perinatal mental health. Jane also has lived experience of fertility issues and IVF which sadly did not result in pregnancy; she and her husband went on to adopt two siblings.
As good friends and colleagues for 14 years, together they observed an increase in pregnant women attending with more complex mental healthcare needs. They also recognised that locally there was a gap in services for women experiencing pregnancy loss.
Wanting to do more to help, they were motivated to set up Taking Baby Steps CIC to improve services and in turn, improve emotional health and wellbeing in families affected by pregnancy loss or traumatic birth experiences.
The project supports women and their partners who experience miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death and/or birth trauma with talking therapy sessions. Care is provided in comfortable premises in Ripon, North Yorkshire, and also by reaching out to families in the local community and beyond by offering virtual sessions. When bereaved parents feel listened to they feel supported and they have therapeutic techniques to help their emotional wellbeing.
Sue and Jane work together to provide emotional support and talking therapy sessions to women and their partners, as well as using the ‘three step rewind technique’ to help overcome associated trauma. They currently see clients independently but are working on a new team approach where treatment for trauma and bereavement symptoms complement each other.
People suffering bereavement, or who receive low-income-related benefits receive sessions for free. As a CIC they see some patients privately, but at more affordable rates compared to profit-making organisations, with any surplus income going towards providing free sessions for those who need them.
As well as providing direct care to families, they are also forging new friendships with local voluntary and social care networks to improve the community element of supportive peer groups and events for mums and partners.
Funding from the Matthew Good Foundation will assist Jane and Sue in making the support they provide available to a wider range of families.
- Raising awareness of paediatric Hydrocephalus
- Funding research and training for nurses and front-line workers to improve the outcome for children with the condition
- Signposting families affected by Hydrocephalus in children
Funds will be used towards the completion of their app and the ‘I wish I had known that’ book. Both projects aim to promote independence for families and children affected by hydrocephalus and to foster access to support to help improve the experience of both the child and their family.
The team has excellent links with most of the UK’s neurosurgical teams, and funds training (for front-line medical, health and social care workers) to further develop their understanding of the condition.
“We have worked very hard to develop Taking Baby Steps in a few short months. Leaving a secure, well-paid job with NHS was not an easy decision to make but we both feel so passionate about the support we offer. Thank you, on behalf of the families who will benefit. Referrals to mental health support services are beyond capacity and we feel we can help reduce local waiting lists and take pressure from other services.”
“It was lovely to meet Jane and Sue, who are both very experienced wellbeing support therapists, providing bereavement and mental health support. They recognised the huge gap in NHS services in providing this support, which motivated them to set up a CIC to offer it. Jane and Sue help people come to terms with and process their experiences and provide a lifeline of support. They aim to secure funding to make this support more equitable and accessible to those that would otherwise not be able to afford to pay for support and would therefore face months of waiting for help when they need it the most.”
Latest Project Updates
After becoming one of the top five finalists in the latest Grants for Good Round, £3,500 was granted.