Manchester Art Gallery

Baby boxes are go!

Hi Everyone,

Tomorrow is gonna be a BIG day; with the tremendous help of Visitor Service staff we’ll be packing 100 boxes of materials to send out to Manchester families via our Sure Start partners in Hulme, Mosside, Clayton and the city centre wards.

Our partners have identified a need for provision for families with babies; since Covid-19, parents have not been able to access children’s centres to register new births. The initial registration appointment is usually where families are signposted to services and groups during the first year of their child’s life. This lack of early intervention and support has already led to increased referrals to the children’s centres. Face to face interactions are vital in building secure and supportive relationships between families and health and education providers. Sure Start managers are concerned that many parents of new babies are left feeling isolated and lonely which can lead to an increased risk of postnatal depression and poor mental health. Every parent knows how important the reassurance given in the early days of new parenthood is. At this time families are not only missing out on interactions with trained health and early education professionals, they are also missing out on interactions with other new parents.

From baby box to baby Zoom

The boxes will include a guidance leaflet which has been developed with our partners to make sure we pitch it right for their families. The leaflet includes wonderful mindfulness tips by Health and Wellbeing Manager Louise Thompson and suggested ways to play with the objects in the boxes by artist Naomi Kendrick. We’ve kept the tone light and friendly, and a bit of an invitation to come see us when life returns to ‘normal’.

Sure Start outreach workers will be handing out the boxes to new parents whose babies have been born in lockdown (March, April, May) and capturing their impact. We are then going to test out running some baby Zooms and possibly some face to face sessions at the children’s centres (non walking babies are good as they don’t need to be told to socially distance!).

Thanks to everyone at the gallery who has helped so far, cutting fabric, putting boxes together and cutting happy shapes from acetate. It was also great that Trevor (volunteer) was able to come and help with this task.

Katy McCall, Family Learning Manager

2 responses to “Baby boxes are go!”

  1. Claire Benson says:

    What a brilliant idea of keeping mother and babies connected. And for creativity for young children which is so important. Really well done.

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