New parents able to meet for walks and talks in Bishop's Stortford thanks to new NCT support group
A support network for new parents is up and running in Bishop's Stortford.
Mum-of-one Ruth Bates leads a new NCT (National Childbirth Trust) group which gives parents and carers the chance to meet for socially-distanced walks and talks around Castle Park up to three times a week.
Under Government legislation, support groups can continue with up to 15 participants. Children under five do not count towards this limit, meaning these groups can reach larger numbers.
The only stipulations are that they must be formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support and must take place at premises other than a private home.
Ruth, 34, and husband Aran, 31, live in St Michael's Hurst. Before they welcomed their baby boy Aidan, now five months old, into the world in the summer, they signed up to do an NCT antenatal course at Spellbrook Primary School.
They were able to attend only the first class in February before the first lockdown came into effect, so the rest of the course took place online via Zoom. "I made good friends with all of the girls that went and we keep in touch," Ruth said.
Earlier in November, the NCT put out an email to see if anyone would lead a support group in Stortford. The charity is concerned that parents are feeling increasingly isolated, anxious and uncertain due to the Covid-19 crisis. Ruth volunteered to help.
"It's designed for people with kids under school age, but primarily for new parents," said Ruth, who works in advertising.
She plans to lead three groups around Castle Park each week, on flat, paved ground to ensure suitability for buggies. On Tuesdays, she will have one other volunteer helper so will be able to take a larger group. On Wednesdays and Fridays, however, she will be leading the group by herself so will be able to host only six other adults.
Mums, dads, grandparents and any other guardians who look after young children are welcome to attend, but they must contact Ruth beforehand to book their slot, as places are limited and they need to provide their details for NHS Track and Trace.
For more details, visit www.nct.org.uk/events/bishops-stortford/walk-talk-castle-park. To act as an NCT walk and talk volunteer, visit www.nct.org.uk/get-involved/join-nct-walk-and-talk-volunteer.