On Saturday 18th June, we did a pitch at Lancaster Soup to let people know a bit about the work we do and to try to win some funding towards our free stretchy scheme. Lancaster Soup is a local community organisation that arranges monthly get-togethers with 3 or 4 groups of people pitching to win money for their project. It’s been set up as a way for small groups to easily get a small lump of money without having to fill in lots of paperwork and it’s also great networking. Anyone can go along and it’s a great evening where you find out about lots of interesting projects locally. £5 entry will buy you a voting token and once the pitches have all been heard (just 4 minutes each, with a short Q&A on the end), you can nip to the bar for some free homemade soup.
Unfortunately the turnout was quite low this time and we missed out on the funding by just 1 vote. However, we’re very happy indeed that Lancaster Sewing Cafe got the funding as the money will mean so much to them and it’s a great project encouraging people to repair clothes and helping them to do so rather than throwing things away.
We may well return to Lancaster Soup in July for an event where projects that weren’t successful first time round get another chance. Whatever the result, it was a good evening anyway and it was great to be able to sit down and actually talk to one another as Thursday sling meets are so busy these days that we rarely get the chance.
Just in case you would like to know a little more information about us, here is the content of Anthea’s pitch. She did a great job despite my toddler having a mini meltdown during it as he was jealous of the weighted doll that I’d put in a stretchy wrap to demonstrate.
“Hello My name is Anthea, and I am here today with Tamsin and Abi to talk to you about the work we do at Morecambe Bay slings. We are a not for profit community incorporated company run by a team of volunteers. We work with parents throughout the Lancaster and Morecambe Bay area and provide an inclusive service which helps and supports families in our community.
When parents come to us we teach them how to use a carrier safely, and offer a hire service for over 100 slings. We also offer help with their own carriers. We meet at least weekly and our meets are a safe space for families to get help and advice about a range of parenting issues. We work closely with the breastfeeding network and our Thursday meets are also a drop in venue for breastfeeding help and advice with a trained breastfeeding peer supporter.
At Morecambe Bay Slings our vision is to create a community where every caregiver is aware of the benefits of carrying their children, and we are doing everything we can to make that happen. From an evolutionary sense babies are meant to be carried. It is essential for their physiological and neurological development. Babies can be carried in arms but the use of a sling/carrier can help to increase the length and frequency of carrying. Carried babies often cry less, and sleep more. It helps to regulate temperature, heart rate, hormone regulation and breathing rate. Being carried helps to develop babies core muscles, improves their sense of balance, helps to prevent flat head syndrome and puts baby in a position for healthy hip development. As a new or old parent it can be difficult to cope with a baby who doesn’t want to be put down. Carrying allows you to be hands free and gives you your freedom back. It’s practical and makes accessing public transport so much easier. It’s good gentle post partum exercise. It helps you to read your babies cues and be responsive to your babies needs. Slings can also be cheaper than pushchairs. They can help to strengthen the breastfeeding relationship. And most importantly slings help you to bond with your baby. The use of slings has even been shown to help reduce post partum depression and reduce attachment issues.
We want everyone to carry their children so we have recently introduced a free stretchy sling hire scheme for all families with babies under 6 weeks old. This is incredibly relevant to this area as within the 89 neighbourhoods of Lancaster and Morecambe Bay nearly a quarter of those areas are part of the 20% most deprived areas within the UK. 10 of our local neighbourhoods are in the top 10% areas of most deprivation and poverty. Deprivation and poverty is directly linked to attachment. Children born into families in these neighbourhoods are 50% more likely to suffer from poor attachment than children born in more privileged areas. For families in deprived areas, carrying their child can make a massive difference to their family.
In the 6 weeks we have been running this scheme, 36 families have taken advantage of it. After a chat with one of the supervisors of midwives who has seen just how much slings have helped local families, she very enthusiastically offered to provide all midwives and clinics with leaflets offering our free sling hire. These will be given to all expecting families in the area. So we are here today to ask for funding to produce the leaflets and to buy more slings to help more families, and to improve the life chances of more children within our neighbourhoods. Thank you so much for allowing us the opportunity to speak with you today, and to tell you a little of what we do here at Morecambe Bay Slings for our community.”