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Hi! My name is Jodi and I am the North Bristol Buddy for Bluebell Care. I'd just like to run you through a bit of what you can expect from myself and the other Buddies within Bluebell Care. 

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2017 - A Busy Year!


PHEW! - 2017 has been a busy one for Bluebell in which we’ve seen our little charity start to grow up, with lots of exciting partnerships and new developments in progress.

In September, our new ‘Little Bluebell’ team made up of Selina, Mel, Sam and Julie launched new groups and the Buddy service in Torbay and the South Hams and are doing a brilliant job. It’s been fantastic to develop this in partnership with the hugely supportive Devon Partnership Trust Perinatal Mental Health Community Team and local Children’s Centres and we are really grateful to them and to our funders, Comic Relief and Little Something, for making this happen.

2017 also saw our services expand into South Gloucestershire, including the recruitment of our first new Buddy for this area who is ready to start work in January. Our services in South Gloucestershire are led by Rachel, Bluebell’s Occupational Therapist and by Easter 2018, there will be group programmes in Patchway and Yate as well as more 1-2-1 support available across these areas. Funding has come from the Perinatal Mental Health Community Fund and we are very pleased to be working in partnership with our local Clinical Commissioning groups and Children’s Centres in South Gloucestershire to ensure the services in the area meet the needs of local families.

An exciting development this year has been the ‘Maternity Wellbeing Buddy’ project funded by the Department of Health and delivered by Paula, our central Bristol Buddy, who has been working in Southmead Hospital maternity services one day each week alongside mental health lead, Sasha Barber to provide a peer support service for pregnant mums. Paula offers mums the time to talk over concerns they may have regarding their emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and can then link them into Bluebell and other local services. As far as we know, this pilot project is a unique in the UK and will hopefully lead to more in other maternity hospital maternity services.

‘Dads in Mind’, Bluebell’s service for Dads, had a rebrand this year to make it more relevant for men and has really taken off, with our Dads’ worker Louis, doing a brilliant job of providing 1-2-1 and group support. Louis has been sharing his story at conferences, in training for health professionals and in the media, which included a national feature in The Mirror and a film made with The Wellcome Trust and BBC Tomorrow’s World, ‘Feeling Bad as a New Dad’. We are looking forward to seeing ‘Dads in Mind’ grow even more and reach many more Dads in 2018!

Alongside all of this new activity, our existing services in Bristol remain very busy, with the Bristol Buddies providing a brilliant service now supporting hundreds of parents across the city and the groups in Bristol Children’s Centres full and thriving. This is supported by our wonderful crèche team who provide a nurturing environment for little ones with sensory play and always offer a caring, listening ear for parents. Alongside this, Emma our crèche leader, has been offering one-to-ones for mums to talk over concerns around sleep and feeding, areas she is trained in, which has been a life-line for many mums this year.

Bluebell Place, our perinatal emotional wellbeing hub in Bristol’s city centre, funded by the Big Lottery and Comic Relief, has now been open for over a year welcoming more than 1,000 parents and infants, far exceeding all our expectations. In the past year, sessions have included a weekly menu of drop-ins where parents can come to chat, take time out, knit, crochet, relax with Yoga and enjoy some pampering. Several short courses have been a great success including creative writing, life-coaching, baby massage, music and our first antenatal emotional wellbeing course led by the Birth & Wellbeing partnership. We couldn’t run any of these sessions without our wonderful sessional workers, volunteers and staff team who give their time so willingly and are always there to make parents feel welcome, offer a listening ear, a cup of tea and of course, cake!

And finally, this was the year we won three awards! – which we were honoured to receive but feel a little embarrassed to shout about, as we know there are so many people who make our work possible, not least the amazing parents we have the pleasure to spend time with every day. And so, we dedicate these awards to them - for the courage they show and the lessons they teach us every day. We feel privileged to spend time with you and to be a little part of your lives and wish you all much health and happiness in the year ahead.