First-time parents in trial of expert help

Parents in Yorkshire will be among the first in the country to access a new service to help them avoid relationship problems following the birth of their first baby.

First-time parents in Leeds and York are being offered the expert help amid research evidence three in five couples experience relationship difficulties after having a baby.

The new Government-backed initiative called The 3 Of Us is being trialled in a number of locations around the country.

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It will offer expecting and new parents with children aged up to two, the choice of face to face or online sessions to help them understand the transition their relationship will go through after they have a child and to give them strategies to stay strong as a couple.

Annabel Burns, director of relationship support at the Department for Education, said: “Becoming a parent is life changing for mothers and fathers. Although this can be an exciting, joyful time, it is also common for couples to need extra support and I hope this trial will benefit families”

Coun Judith Blake, lead executive member for children’s services at Leeds City Council, said: “I hope it will make parents in Leeds and York to feel that it is as normal to access relationship support as it is to go to an antenatal class.”

Relate Mid Yorkshire and the Fatherhood Institute will deliver the sessions in Leeds and York under the project which will be officially launched in Leeds next week.

Up to £1m has been made available for the trial which will run until March 2014.

A one-hour private session with a Relate adviser, followed by a 30-minute online or telephone call, will cost £30. Advice will include tips on managing new roles, dealing with the emotional impact of having a child and developing coping strategies for lack of sleep and mess.

Alternatively, couples can take part in an online workshop which costs £25.