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Brushstrokes' work with vulnerable women honoured


On 25 February 2016, Brushstrokes Community Project was honoured with a prestigious Equality Award from Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Hosted by Sameena Ali-Khan, presenter of ITV Central News, the award ceremony took place at West Bromwich Albion football ground and was well attended by community groups, professionals from the CCG and patient representatives. The awards recognise statutory and voluntary groups across the Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG area for Excellence in Equality.

Brushstrokes were nominated for their work in reducing infant mortality with vulnerable women. Professor Nick Harding, Chair of the CCG, spoke of the importance of focusing on this area of work, saying that in some areas covered by the CCG the infant mortality rates are higher than in the countries many of the residents have come from.

/media/news/library/brushstrokes-baby-bump-pack.jpgResponding to this need and to demand from service users, health visitors, midwives and other professionals, Brushstrokes developed the Bump Start Baby Pack to provide essential mother and baby items for use in maternity units and for the first three months of a baby’s life. The packs were designed in partnership with families, the Children’s Society, health visitors and other NHS staff to ensure they provided the very best items needed by vulnerable new mothers.

Today, the Bump Start packs are the most requested item of all the practical resources that Brushstrokes provide to destitute people in the area. In one year alone, 137 packs were given to mothers living in extreme poverty.

Brushstrokes also support expectant mothers by providing advice and befriending, and by ensuring they are in touch /media/news/library/2016-01-08-13.50.45.jpgwith appropriate maternity services at the right times. This helps reduce isolation, provides a way to reach vulnerable migrant women and enables the women to access support from Brushstrokes and other organisations.

 Sameena Ali-Khan said that, although the experiences of refugees, asylum seekers and trafficked women were outside her experience, she was glad such support existed for mothers in crisis.

Accepting the award for Brushstrokes, Project Manager Teresa Clements said, “in the UK families and friends will offer support to expectant mothers, start knitting blankets and clothes, buy baby items or pass on items their own children have used. But for the newcomer families we support, isolated and with /media/news/library/certificate.jpgno family or friends near to support them, they have nowhere to turn other than organisations like ours.” 

Teresa added, “without donations from kind-hearted people, we could not provide this support for destitute mothers.
We are delighted to receive the award, which recognises the hard work of Brushstrokes staff and volunteers and the huge generosity of people donating items to us.”

If you would like to help Brushstrokes by providing baby items for the Bump Start Packs, please contact them on 0121 565 2234. Any donations can be delivered to St Philip’s Centre, Watt Street, Smethwick B66 3DA or brought to Father Hudson’s Care at St George’s House, Gerards Way, Coleshill B46 3FG.

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