Tell us about you!
I’m a married mum of 2 (4 & 2) from Hellesdon and I’m the Norfolk Publicity & Recruitment Co-Ordinator for Get Me Out The Four Walls.
And about Get Me Out The Four Walls?
Get Me Out The Four Walls is a mental health charity supporting parents in the community. We do this by hosting non judgemental and inclusive social meets, holding free supportive stay & play sessions with other organisations and by supporting parents who may have mental health issues such as postnatal depression and anxiety. We work closely with the NSFT Perinatal Team and offer a one to one Referrals service for those who need support integrating into social and community activities.
How/when did you become involved?
I joined GMOTFW in August 2015 when the charity was just a small coffee meet up for parents in Norwich City centre. Following the introduction of GMOTFW, it grew rapidly with much demand for meets so the “Ambassador” role was born and I was very honoured to be one of the first Ambassadors in Norwich. I later became a team leader and started helping out with charity administration and planning fundraising events such as our Christmas Fairs and annual Spring Ball.
What made you decide to pursue a career with them?
I had PND myself and during my voluntary time with GMOTFW, I developed a real passion for helping others and supporting them. I especially loved working with the Volunteers and I had previously worked in events management so when a post became available to merge the two, I had to apply! The charity’s founder Naomi had a strong passion for getting parents back into work so created roles which were flexible, home based and non pressured, which works so well when you have children and your life is often thrown into turmoil by tummy bugs and tantrums!
What are the future plans for the charity?
The charity is constantly evolving through connections with other organisations and funding pools so there is always lots going on in the background. Alongside our day to day service and our ongoing expansion into rural areas, we have been commissioned by the NHS to provide a peer support service in Suffolk so we are establishing this service now. We are also working closely with Castle Quarter in Norwich to develop a 2020 programme of events for parents to come along to following a successful year with them in 2019. We have also worked with NHS teams in the Health and Social Care sector and have already held an employment fair together supporting parents into new careers and training with the NHS. We hope 2020 will see this continue and become a regular occurence.
Why are support networks like this so important for parents?
Peer support networks are so important as sometimes you just want someone to understand and listen. Often we hear about and experience ourselves very “clinical” care which can make people feel uncomfortable and not able to really express what they are feeling. Joining a support group where everyone is just like you, just a parent trying to make it through the day on 2 hours sleep and half a cup of coffee, can be so beneficial to your mental wellbeing and confidence and enables you to really open up. Often you then find that the person you’re speaking with has experienced something similar and you no longer feel alone.
What are your personal goals for the future?
For 2020 I’m challenging myself to take one whole day a month for “me time” whether it be a spa day, a day out with friends or just an undisturbed day on the couch in my pj’s. Self care is so important and as parents we automatically put everyone else first so I will be striving to do this for me!
I also would like to finally pass my driving test and continue on my GMOTFW journey whilst looking into going back into education.
If you could give one piece of advise to expectant first time parents what would it be?
I have three!
1. Dr Google is not a real doctor, do not consult him at 3am, you’ll terrify yourself!
2. Take everything offered to you. Cooked Meals, babysitting duties (when you’re comfortable) , help around the house etc. – you’ve got your hands full with baby, let people help you.
3. Don’t take advice – you will always know best!
To find out more about the amazing work that GMOT4W do visit their website! GMOT4W