The scheme helping new mums fight baby blues

New mum Rebecca Elsworth, owner of Elsworth Kitchen in Skipton who has taken on an NHS welbeing  scheme  at her restaurant   Picture Tony JohnsonNew mum Rebecca Elsworth, owner of Elsworth Kitchen in Skipton who has taken on an NHS welbeing  scheme  at her restaurant   Picture Tony Johnson
New mum Rebecca Elsworth, owner of Elsworth Kitchen in Skipton who has taken on an NHS welbeing scheme at her restaurant Picture Tony Johnson | 'Johnston Press Resell'
Being a new mum can be a difficult time. A scheme in Yorkshire is encouraging businesses to help. Catherine Scott reports.

“I definitely had the baby blues after Florence was born and wish there had been somewhere I could have gone to share how I felt with other mums,” says Rebecca Elsworth.

Rebecca, who with husband Bruce, own the restaurant Elsworth Kitchen in Skipton, decided to take action.

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“When we opened Elsworth Kitchen just over 18 months ago we wanted it to become something of a community hub, holding networking events and things like that.

Rebecca Elsworth, owner of Elsworth Kitchen, right, with her sister Claire Wilkin and nephew Charlie. Picture Tony JohnsonRebecca Elsworth, owner of Elsworth Kitchen, right, with her sister Claire Wilkin and nephew Charlie. Picture Tony Johnson
Rebecca Elsworth, owner of Elsworth Kitchen, right, with her sister Claire Wilkin and nephew Charlie. Picture Tony Johnson | 'Johnston Press Resell'

“I was also passionate that we could become a place not only where new mums would feel comfortable but where they could meet other mums and share their experiences, have a shoulder to cry on while having a coffee and a lovely cake.”

To that end Rebecca joined The Compassion for Mums Well-being scheme run by Bradford District Care NHS Trust.

The scheme, launched last year and recently renamed ‘Compassion for Parents and Babies Well-being’, aims to make locations in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, including cafes, museums and libraries, places where every mum feels welcome to go to with their baby.

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Many women feel nervous about going out in public with their babies and may choose not to, leading to social isolation and impacting negatively on their emotional wellbeing. The scheme aims to promote places where every parent feels welcome to go to with their baby.

Bruce and Rebecca Elsworth, owner of Elsworth Kitchen, in Skipton.  Picture Tony JohnsonBruce and Rebecca Elsworth, owner of Elsworth Kitchen, in Skipton.  Picture Tony Johnson
Bruce and Rebecca Elsworth, owner of Elsworth Kitchen, in Skipton. Picture Tony Johnson | 'Johnston Press Resell'

Perinatal mental health affects up to 20 per cent of women during pregnancy and in their first year after giving birth.

By signing up to the scheme businesses and organisations help show they welcome and support new mums and their families by displaying an easily recognisable Compassion for Parents and Babies Well-being sticker.

Lisa Milne, clinical lead for Perinatal Mental Health at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Maternal mental well-being is best supported by communities and services coming together to support families. People are interested in understanding more about maternal mental health and are recognising the importance of treating new parents with kindness.”

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Mums can nominate places where they feel relaxed in the local area and we will get in touch with the places to encourage them to join the scheme. So far 67 businesses have joined the scheme including Elsworth Kitchen.

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“All our staff are trained to help mums – and dads for that matter – with small children,” explains Rebecca.

“If they see someone approaching with a buggy or pram they will go and help them open the door and help them in. They also all know that women we welcome to breast feed but also just to give them space and time if that is what they want.”

They have also started a weekly drop-in for mums with young children.

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“We are lucky in that we have an upstairs where we have created an area for the youngsters to play so that the other dinners aren’t disturbed if they don’t want to be,” says Rebecca.

The baby group jokingly called ‘Winging It’ takes place on Tuesday between 9.30am and 11am when around 10 mums get together with their babies.

“It is completely none judgemental and we make sure that either me, my sister or my mum are always there to make sure new people don’t feel too daunted. That was something I found attending some of the more traditional mother and baby things. This is about supporting each other, sharing what we are going through in a nice environment.”

She said the feedback so far had been very positive.

“We had a mum of twins who came in and just broke down because she could, she was in a safe environment with like-minded people who knew what she was going through.

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“Sometimes people just need someone to talk to who isn’t their health visitor or a relative and that’s where we come in. I think its extremely important to mental wellbeing.

“There seem to be a lot of people moving to Skipton who have babies and young children and we want to be three for them if they need some support or just someone to listen to them for them to share what they are going through and it’s not just on the Tuesday drop-in. Mums and babies are always welcome.”

Rebecca and Bruce opened Elsworth Kitchen 18 months ago.

Local lad Bruce is an award-winning chef and was previously chef director at the renowned Angel at Hetton for 20 years.

Keen to provide a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, Bruce and Rebecca have designed the layout so the kitchen area is open, enabling guests to see the team at work.

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“We have even out a little replica kitchen in the children’s area upstairs so little ones can pretend, to be chefs,” says Rebecca “Even though we didn’t have children when we were looking to open out first place we knew that we wanted to make everyone, including those with children welcome. But we also wanted to be part of the community.” Rebecca also has a networking group – Skipton Business Social.

Government advice is to social isolate during the current coronavirus situation including avoiding pubs, restaurants and theatres.

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