The breastfeeding counsellor for the Isle of Ely NCT group has been honoured and three volunteers have been highly commended in a regional ceremony recognising the charity’s volunteers and practitioners who go the extra mile.
Ely mum Megan Stephenson won the prestigious Parent Supporter award during the East of England heat of the NCT Volunteer Stars Awards on Saturday.
Held in Thetford, the ceremony celebrated the achievement of volunteers and practitioners dedicated to supporting new parents during their First 1000 Days – from the start of pregnancy to their child’s second birthday.
A familiar face at Isle of Ely NCT events, Megan has dedicated numerous years to volunteering at Bumps, Babies & Beyond, a free playgroup aimed at babies and toddlers that takes place at the Ely Methodist Church in Chapel Street on the first Friday of every month.
Megan regular opens up her house to new and expectant parents at a weekly Bumps & Babies group. Megan helps out new and expecting mums in her role as breastfeeding counsellor as well as responding to queries that come in via social media.
She has used her previous experience as Ely branch coordinator to help the branch, especially since the loss of her predecessor, Maxine Freeman, who was tragically killed during an accident on Queen Adelaide Road in 2014.
During last week’s ceremony, Caoimhin O Coileain and couple Lorraine and Brian Calvert, were highly commended for their contributions to the Ely NCT branch.
Caoimhin has worked hard to build trust and welcome parents to the branch and is the first NCT dad in the area to run his own NCTea, Tots and Toys group for expectant parents, parents, carers and children.
His citation said: “This is a great resource in an area which doesn’t have many facilities for families or good public transport links.
“His dedication and enthusiasm makes him an inspiration, plus he has a unique ability to make us feel that we are all parents together rather than mums or dads with separate roles.”
Lorraine is the first to greet new people to Bumps, Babies & Beyond and offer refreshments. As a result, three new regular volunteers have signed up including one who has set up a toddler group in an isolated rural community, another who has started a sling library and a third who helps regularly at Bumps, Babies & Beyond.
When Lorraine shared, via the Ely branch’s Facebook page, that she was suffering from postnatal depression, she “helped others to feel less alone”.
Meanwhile branch treasurer Brian has publicised Baby First Aid courses and always responds to requests with the result that they are consistently fully booked up a course ahead.
“He is an important volunteer, showing his support at the Nearly New Sales and encouraging other dads to consider volunteering.”
Winners of the regional heat and Diamond Jubilee Award Regional Winners will all be entered into the national heat.
Regional winners and a shortlist of Diamond Jubilee Award Regional Winner 2016 will be invited to the awards ceremony at City Hall, London on November 2.