The Baby Box project was a pilot project, funded by Public Health in Leicestershire that was developed working with volunteers.
What started with an idea (inspired by a scheme in Finland) to distribute baby boxes to pregnant teenagers became reality over several months of planning. We worked with young people and partner agencies including Public Health, Midwifery, Health Visiting and the Children's Centre programme to develop a model that, from the very beginning, aimed to target a group that is at greater risk of poor outcomes.
We needed to create a balance between a 'nice idea' and a project that would have a measurable and meaningful impact.
We involved our volunteers in deciding what would go into the boxes, including developing tailored resources to provide information about their pregnancy, the transition to parenthood and sources of support that they could access in their local area.
The project was supported by a strong referral process and partner meetings in each district to understand and respond to the needs identified.
The project grew from a six month pilot to two years and evolved over time based on feedback from young people who had received a box.
The impact was significant, we asked individuals about the difference the box had made to them in a number of ways and collated their responses. Together with feedback from partner agencies and the Teenagers with Babies Action Group in each district we are able to evidence the wider impact of the pilot project. We now know about more teenage mums and dads across the county and have a greater understanding of their needs. We have been able to support individuals with specific questions and concerns, as well as providing information about Care to Learn and the local Children's Centre Programme.
The NEET (not in education, employment or training) rate for teenage mothers has been reduced, young people have felt more supported and have accessed services more.
"I got a baby box when I was 24 weeks pregnant, it was full of great things to start me off. The books about what other young parents had gone through helped me feel less scared & judged.
After the baby box visit I agreed for the baby box lady to pass my details to Sure Start. They got in touch, me & my partner did the antenatal classes, then in the summer we did a baby first aid course.
After my baby was born I had a re-visit from the baby box lady, she bought me another book about being a mum, which is funny & helpful.
It was really good to talk to someone about my birth, & how I am feeling now.
The Baby Box was great, I think it should be available to all mums.
Thank you. "
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