“I am passionate about creating a supportive environment to help parents feel safe and accepted. When parents do not feel judged or patronised they can work through their challenges and make decisions based on what is right for their family not based on the expectation of others. When parents feel confident and supported, this helps to build resilience within the community which has a positive impact on the whole of society. I am excited about the future of Early Nourishment and the positive effect it has upon the community."
Hannah Ashford has been supporting local families since 2010 in a variety of roles including as breastfeeding counsellor & introduction to solids practitioner. She has had over 3,000 contacts from parents with regards to feeding issues, a mixture of local contacts & 6 years dedication to the NCT Infant Feeding Line. You will meet Hannah at our Nourished feeding drop-ins; she also delivers the Healthy Babies UK peer supporter training for Early Nourishment & provides ongoing supervision to our peer supporters.
Hannah has a BSc Hons (Open) degree, formed using her Diploma of Higher Education in Breastfeeding Counselling and topped up with two level six modules from the Open University; 'Approaches to Mental Health' & 'Young lives, parenting and families'. Hannah has had other roles in the community such as volunteering for the County Council to advise on cloth nappies and she founded North Devon Sling Library in 2012. This education and experience means Hannah has a wealth of knowledge in supporting parents, having had the privilege of hearing thousands of parent's journeys.
“I've spent most of my career working in & around voluntary services in North Devon; this has given me the benefit of understanding the governance required to make sure a service is safe whilst still allowing the community to feed into developing it. Having young children myself, I know that becoming a parent is a time when we are especially vulnerable & need the support of others; but it’s so important that this support is safe & empowering. I’m really proud of what Early Nourishment has achieved so far & am excited to see where the community takes us next…”
Alice McCarron is a HCPC Registered Occupational Therapist, working at present within the NHS in mental health services. She has over 10 years experience working in the field of mental health across various specialities, including perinatal mental health, in both the public & the voluntary sector within North Devon. She is also level 4 safeguarding trained & our nominated safeguarding lead; with a wealth of experience in complex safeguarding issues & secure knowledge of local processes.
Alice is passionate about supporting families, especially with regard to promoting positive mental health within the whole family unit; both during pregnancy and in the postnatal period, using her skills as an Occupational Therapist to help families with this truly rewarding life transition. With personal experience of being a parent of a child with additional needs, Alice is also keen to make sure that Early Nourishment considers the needs of this group of parents when thinking about local resources.
"Offering inclusive, safe and culturally sensitive spaces is crucial in order to support everyone in our community. Parenting naturally highlights the diversity of our backgrounds, thoughts and opinions. I believe that embracing our differences is the key to equality as well as the foundation of building strong, supportive links within our community."
Louise Oliver of Diversity in Infant Feeding wins the competition for the most hats! Alongside her Diversity in Infant Feeding project she is a breastfeeding counsellor, peer support trainer, doula, introductions to solids practitioner & employed as an Infant Feeding Advisor for the NHS in the West Midlands. She holds a BA Honours degree in Birth and Beyond from the University of Worcester and is currently studying a Masters Degree in Public Health.
Louise has been supporting parents with infant feeding since 2010. Her experience includes facilitating antenatal sessions, leading breastfeeding drops-ins, face to face support, training peer supporters, employed community peer support roles and campaigning for equality and diversity within infant feeding representation. Her varied and diverse experiences will really help Early Nourishment fulfill its mission, visions and values by adding a fresh perspective from a different social demographic whilst also drawing from her experiences in facilitating projects that we aim to deliver through Early Nourishment.
Emma has been working in Early Years for 25 years. She is passionate about supporting parents as they begin their parenting journey, so that each and every child has the best start in life – the critical 1001 days.
Emma runs our Babbling Babies and Little Pebbles groups. Having worked in Early Years for 25 years, both in a Pre-school setting and for the Childrens Centre, she has sound knowledge in children’s development and the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. Play activities are planned carefully after observations of what children attending are interested in.
Emma is a Level 3 practitioner and is trained in and has run groups on Thrive, ‘Lets Talk More’ (communication, speech & language) and ‘Here’s Looking at You Baby’ as well as various stay & play groups whilst at the Children's Centre. She has recently trained as a childminder and baby massage teacher. She has current paediatric first aid and Safeguarding certificates.
Emma lives near Barnstaple with her husband and teenage daughter. She enjoys walking her dog Lottie, especially at the beach and in the woods.
Tatyana is a single mum to twin boys, who trained as a peer supporter for Early Nourishment in 2019. Before her twins, she worked as an Early Years Practitioner (alongside many other things including work as a chef and a massage therapist) and has a BA (hons) degree in Child Development. She absolutely loves supporting mums and babies in a heap of different ways!
Tatyana’s twins were born at 27 weeks so she has experience of what life is like in the NICU with premature babies and gas overcome many feeding difficulties. As well as providing breastfeeding peer support at our drop-ins, she also voluntarily facilitates our virtual peer led twin and multiple birth group, as a friendly space for parents of twins and multiples to chat and swap stories.
When she’s not juggling babies, you can often find Tan buried in a pile of children’s books, knotted in a pile of crochet yarn, or secret eating chocolate in the kitchen whilst she hides from her crazy boys!
Early Nourishment CIC would not exist without the dedication of our peer supporters who volunteer their time for free. We are passionate about the use of peer supporters as we value the contribution of those with lived experience. We are confident that our support follows the guidelines set out by the maternal mental health alliance for good perinatal peer support.
Our Support Is:
Here are just some of the faces that you might see at our online (or in the future face to face) drop ins:
We know that accessing services can be difficult especially for those with additional needs or from minority groups. We aim to recruit volunteers from different backgrounds to enable our service to be diverse & help us bridge some of these gaps, as often these groups are even more impacted by increased social isolation
If you are interested in becoming a breastfeeding peer supporter then have a look at our training page for further info.
We are also always interested in volunteers to help with other areas of the project so if you want to get involved or have an idea you think we could collaborate on then get in contact.