Partnership anniversary

Toni Neesam's and her twins Oliver and Lucas with family nurse Jan Hall.
Toni Neesam's and her twins Oliver and Lucas with family nurse Jan Hall.

A partnership which supports first-time young mums in Northumberland has celebrated its first anniversary.

The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP), run by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, involves a specially-trained family nurse regularly visiting young mums and dads up to the age of 19, from early pregnancy until their child is two.

The FNP programme aims to enable young mums to have a healthy pregnancy, improve their child’s health and development, plan their own futures and achieve their aspirations.

In the last year, the partnership has supported scores of young mums in Northumberland and around 50 came together at a first anniversary party at Ashington Children’s Centre.

Toni Neesam’s sons Oliver and Lucas were the only twins at the celebration.

Toni, from Cramlington, has benefitted from the support she has been given by her family nurse Jan Hall.

Toni, 19, said: “The partnership has been excellent for me and helped me manage with having twins. It’s great because if I’m worried about anything I can ask Jan, however, she’s helped me in lots of other ways too such as giving me recipes for healthy food and information about baby groups.”

The FNP is one of a range of services provided by Northumbria Healthcare to support children in the community and in hospital.

Staff from a number of agencies involved in the scheme attended the celebration including Janette Hopkins, from the national FNP.

Penny Spring, director of public health at Northumberland County Council, said: “Becoming a parent at any age can be challenging. The partnership supports and empowers parents to make the right choices for themselves and their babies, to build on their strengths and help them to become sensitive and responsive caregivers to their babies.

“Already the partnership is seeing some positive results with approximately 55 per cent of those taking part in the scheme starting breast feeding.”

Gill Physick, children’s services manager at Action for Children, which runs Ashington Children’s Centre, said: “Young parents in Ashington and across Northumberland have truly benefitted from the Family Nurse Partnership which has helped build their confidence to access our wider services such as the young parents’ group at Ashington Children’s Centre.

“Action for Children is delighted to be part of the Family Nurse Partnership celebration and I feel proud of the young parents who have made so much progress throughout the year.”