FREE Socialcise walking groups can have a profound impact on maternal mental health, wellbeing and community cohesion in the areas where they run. Mothers, who meet weekly to get active together outdoors with their babies and children, report improved physical and mental health and valuable friendships. Supporting the leaders and members of these groups is part of our core mission and we rely on Health Visitors around the country to work with us.
What We Did
FREE Socialcise walking groups can have a profound impact on maternal mental health, wellbeing and community cohesion in the areas where they run. Mothers, who meet weekly to get active together outdoors with their babies and children, report improved physical and mental health and valuable friendships. Supporting the leaders and members of these groups is part of our core mission and we rely on Health Visitors around the country to work with us. Ready Steady Mums is all about building community capacity, by empowering mothers to take a lead and support other local mothers and families. Health Visitors are often the first to identify, encourage and support mums who want to become Group Leaders. Through our social media channels, we regularly share the benefits of these walking groups and provide support to those who wish to start their own local group.
Wider Active Support
The Institute and RSMs work in partnership with organisations such as children centres and individuals who also seek to contribute to the lives of mothers – be that by providing medical care; facilitating volunteering; leading postnatal exercise sessions; offering children’s services; or serving mothers in other ways. Together, our offerings for mothers achieve even more significant results in improving their mental health and general well being.
This project while facilitated by the Institute of Health Visiting is run completely by service users. In 2014 we conducted a survey of 100 mums and produced this report: http://readysteadymums.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/RSM-Research-Report-FINAL.pdf
To keep the project fresh we conducted further focus groups with mums in March 2016 in collaboration with the university of Hertfordshire. Following this focus group we have updated the marketing of the socialising groups to reach mums from around the UK which is beginning to see groups developing in Scotland and Wales.
Looking Back/Challenges Faced
We would have worked with voluntary and community organisations from the beginning. We want to be full partners recognised for or expertise- we did- service user feedback is at the heart of the RSM project.
We are constantly looking at new ways to develop the project and reach every new mum in the country. This requires funding to create a marketing plan. We refresh the website regularly, putting pictures of new groups created on the website and encouraging them locally to involve the local press to spread the work far and wide.
We have a core dedicated team working across the professional and service user community to ensure we conduct regular quality assurance audits. The positive mental health of mothers is at the heart of our work.
In 2014 we conducted a survey of 100 mums and produced this report:
We held a social media chat on Twitter on 16th May 2016 to reach out to families, health visitors and commissioners to spread the word of the benefits not only to maternal mental health but also improves wellbeing of both mothers and babies through socialising walking groups.
Is there any other information you would like to add?
We would like to include a quote from mothers about the walking groups:
“I really love meeting new mums, getting out in the fresh air and this walking group certainly improved my postnatal depression”