Bristol hosts a vibrant not-for-profit and charity sector that bolsters community solidarity and support. Our mamas benefit from accessing support from different organisations, covering different needs and accessibility issues. By working together, the different agencies share resources and provide better safety networks for the people we support.
At Project MAMA we provide the core of our support through our Mother Companions project, that is the bread and butter of what we do, and we pride in providing holistic support to mamas from pregnancy, labour, birth and early parenting. Our support includes preparation for birth and parenting, emotional support, physical support, and advocacy, facilitating communication between the people we support and care providers so that they can make informed choices.
We do so through a small team of Mother Companions who meet regularly with the mama they are supporting, get to know them and their individual needs, providing holistic tailored perinatal support. Mother Companions can also be birth partners and provide support during labour and birth, if the person wishes so. Some of our mamas have partners, friends and family, who are with them during the birth of their babies, but benefit from the holistic support around the birth that Mother Companions are able to provide, including preparation for birth, post-natal support & signposting.
We also cultivate community through MAMAHub, a drop-in hub for expectant and new mamas (up until baby is 2 years old). As well as providing a social space & mutual support, our sessions include gentle yoga, infant feeding & sleep support, and a hot, home-cooked meal chosen and cooked by the mamas & volunteers.
For other support, including material items, we signpost to our partners and other agencies in Bristol. Some of the main reasons for us to refer and signpost are outlined below:
For baby essentials: We refer our mamas to Baby Bank Network, who provide pre-loved essentials for those who need them, including nappies, clothes and prams. Project MAMA provided emergency material support during the first lockdown to families, however, we do not provide this type of support anymore. Please note, we are only able to refer people who are being supported by Project MAMA, who are either pregnant or within 8 weeks post-partum.
For advocacy support for people seeking asylum: Bristol Refugee Rights have a helpline available on call, text and whatsapp as well as Information and Advice sessions for people to get support around their asylum claim, asylum support and asylum accommodation. They can also provide support with healthcare access, form filling and signposting to other agencies. They also offer a social space, English classes with creche and other support including Pride Without Borders Group.
For support for people with refugee status: If our mamas have refugee status, we signpost them to the British Red Cross, who are able to provide practical support and casework, including help reuniting families.
For Wellbeing and Social Support: We work closely with our partners at Refugee Women of Bristol, who provide English classes, health & wellbeing activities, creche as well as a lunch club, workshops & other activities.