Young parents benefit from supportive partnership

Northumberland County Council Director of Public Health Penny Spring, left, with Katie Quigley and family nurse Sarah Jackson.

Northumberland County Council Director of Public Health Penny Spring, left, with Katie Quigley and family nurse Sarah Jackson.

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A scheme to support young parents in Northumberland has marked its first anniversary.

The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) is run by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to help mums and dads under the age of 19.

Specially-trained nurses visit the young parents regularly from pregnancy until their child is two years old, aiming to ensure a healthy pregnancy, improve the child’s health and development, and help parents to plan their own futures and achieve their aspirations.

Currently, 69 people are being supported by the initiative, and about 50 parents and professionals came together for its first anniversary party at Ashington Children’s Centre.

Sixteen-year-old Katie Quigley, from Pegswood, who benefits from the scheme with her daughter Imogen, said: “My family nurse Sarah is fantastic.

“I’ve got her number in my phone – I can ask her anything and she’s always there to help.

The feedback from the young mums and dads has been extremely positive, with the teenagers telling us they have increased confidence in themselves and their parenting as a result of the partnership.

Rachel Rispin, Northumberland FNP Supervisor

“I’d never had any experience of babies before so she’s taught me everything I know, from changing a nappy to feeding.

“She’s really helped me with my relationship with Imogen and given me confidence to be a parent. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.”

A number of agencies are involved in the partnership.

Northumbria Healthcare FNP Supervisor Rachel Rispin said: “The Family Nurse Partnership has had an excellent first year supporting young mums to be the best mums they can.

“The feedback from the young mums and dads has been extremely positive, with the teenagers telling us they have increased confidence in themselves and their parenting as a result of the partnership.

“It is also great to hear that they are benefitting greatly from the trusting and supportive relationship with their family nurse.”

Northumberland County Council Director of Public Health Penny Spring added: “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 become sensitive and responsive care-givers to their babies.”