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Finding other help

The help you want may not come from the services of professionals. There are many other sources of help available to parents – not only family and friends, but also many different kinds of local groups and voluntary organisations.

Local groups

To find out about local groups, try the following:

  • Ask your health visitor or GP.
  • Ask at your citizens advice bureau or other advice centre, your local library, your social services department, or your local Council for Voluntary Service (in your phone book, maybe as Voluntary Action Group, Rural Community Council or Volunteer Bureau). (In Northern Ireland, contact the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action. 
  • Look on noticeboards in your child health clinic, health centre, GP’s waiting room, local library, advice centres, supermarket, newsagent or toy shop.
  • Look through the list of national organisations. Many run local groups.

In many areas there are now groups offering support to parents who share the same background and culture. Many of these are women’s or mothers’ groups. Your health visitor may know if there’s such a group in your area. Or ask at places like your local library, your citizens advice bureau or other advice or community centre, your local Council for Voluntary Service, or your Community Relations Council (in your phone book, maybe as Council for Racial Equality or Community Relations Office).

Starting a group

If you can’t find a local group that suits you or can’t find the support you need, think about setting it up for yourself. Many local groups have begun through a couple of mothers (say with crying babies, or sleepless toddlers, or just fed up and lonely) getting together and talking. You could advertise on your clinic noticeboard or in a newsagent’s window or local newspaper.

Or ask your health visitor to put you in touch with others in the same situation as yourself. You don’t have to offer any more than a place to meet and a few cups of coffee. Or you could get a copy of New Lives (direct from the Maternity Alliance, price £3.00, ), which has suggestions for how to set up a new mothers’ group.

We are indebted to Health Promotion England for their help in compiling this section.