Sirona care & health and North Somerset Council are today celebrating a prestigious award jointly granted to the Health Visiting service and Children’s Centres in North Somerset.
Services have been presented with the UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) UK Baby Friendly Initiative Gold Award; the highest accolade and next step for services accredited as Baby Friendly by UNICEF UK.
The award celebrates excellent and sustained practice in the support of infant feeding and parent-infant relationships. Achieving the award is dependent on services meeting UNICEF UK’s Achieving Sustainability Standards which are designed to help embed high quality care for the long term.
Amanda Yates, Health Visiting Lead North Somerset at Sirona care & health said: “The feedback we’ve received from UNICEF UK about the support we provide to North Somerset mums is enormously positive. It is very rewarding for us to know that mothers gain so much from the specialist infant feeding service we provide and we are proud to play such an important role in their journey.
“We have been commended for the on-going support we have provided to mums throughout the COVID-19 pandemic which demonstrates our commitment to giving children the best start in life. We have worked in partnership with our valued peer supporters and local children’s centres to achieve this award and are immensely grateful to them for their support and partnership.
“Our health visitors work hard to promote breastfeeding and support mums and their babies and it is wonderful to see their commitment recognised by this prestigious award. We’re extremely proud of the support we offer and are determined to build on our success throughout 2020 and beyond.”
Matt Lenny, Director of Public Health at North Somerset Council said: “This really exciting news and many congratulations to colleagues working in health visiting, children’s centres, midwifery and public health who have all contributed to this amazing achievement. The other key part of our success are the local mums working as peer supporters who have put countless hours of care and support into helping other mums to start and breastfeed for longer – their work is inspirational and shows how great changes are possible through strong communities.
“Breastfeeding matters because it protects against illness for both baby and mother and helps to create better health in the long term. Benefits include improved gut health for babies in their early months and protection against asthma and diabetes later in life. There is reduced risk of some cancers for mums and the development bond between mother and baby can be significantly enhanced through breastfeeding. It is also the cheapest and most convenient way to give a baby the nutrition it needs.”
Mary Lewis, Director of Nursing at Sirona care & health said: “Receiving the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Gold Award is a fantastic achievement and truly demonstrates the dedication and commitment of our North Somerset health visitors and their partners in North Somerset.
“This award is a celebration of excellent practice in infant feeding support and the important role of health visitors and many others play in nurturing the development of parent-infant relationships. We are extremely proud to be accredited as a Gold Baby Friendly service.”