A young mum helped out by a pioneering nurse partnership has spoken out about how the service helped her approach motherhood for the first time.
More than 100 new teenage parents have been assisted by the Family Nurse Partnership since it was first established a decade ago.
And 20-year-old Chloe Hardy, from Hindley, is among those ready to praise the Bridgewater Community Healthcare initiative.
She was given support following the birth of her son Oliver, who will soon turn two, and she singled out partnership nurse Joanne Hill for her advice.
Chloe said: “When I became pregnant at 18, my confidence was knocked and I thought I wouldn’t be able to do anything in life.
“I met Joanne, from the Family Nurse Partnership team, and she helped me in so many ways such as with finance and Oliver’s teething and sleeping.
“She also said I could achieve anything I wanted. Joanne was nice, friendly and never judgemental.
“I am now on a midwifery course at The University of Central Lancashire and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support from Joanne.”
She joined a number of parents, in similar circumstances, for a celebration event hosted by the NHS trust at the Start Well Centre in Ince.
The programme is available for first-time mums aged under 20 and offers intensive and structured home visiting, either weekly or fortnightly, from early pregnancy until the child is aged two.
Not only does it aim to improve the health of mothers and babies both during and after pregnancy but it also offers advice and information on everything from child health and development to employment and finance.
Jeff Ahmed, a family nurse supervisor for the Bridgewater trust, said: “It’s amazing that so many families who we have helped and are currently helping have come out to celebrate the Family Nurse Partnership.
“Our job as family nurses is to not only help new and expectant young mums with issues such as parenting, health, jobs, education and housing but also to encourage their self-esteem and motivation through a strength based approach so they can become the best possible parents. It is a very special service I feel honoured to manage.”
Coun Bill Clarke, Mayor of Wigan, who attended the celebration, said: “I am amazed at what the Family Nurse Partnership does in this borough to help local families and the great outcomes achieved. It’s a great service - it’s very worthwhile.”