Contract extended for Wigan charity set up for new mums

A Wigan charity will continue providing support for families who breastfeed their babies after its contract was extended.

Friday, 10th April 2020, 11:18 am
Updated Friday, 10th April 2020, 11:20 am
Breastfeeding Together project manager Elinor Halliwell

Town hall bosses had decided not to renew the deal with Breastfeeding Together when it came to an end last month so they could change the way services were provided for parents and their tots.

But following the coronavirus outbreak, the local authority asked the charity to continue its work for a further six months.

Elinor Halliwell, project manager at Breastfeeding Together, said: “Our contract with Wigan Council has been extended until the end of September to provide the council with time to implement the new changes to services for families.”

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Prof Kate Ardern, Wigan Council’s director for public health, said: “We’re happy Breastfeeding Together have accepted the invitation to continue the service temporarily for families while we prioritise the response to Covid-19.

“We hope to progress our plans for the new service later in the year and will keep parents updated.”

Earlier this year the council announced it would not renew its contract with Breastfeeding Together, which offers a peer support service to families choosing to breastfeed their babies.

Prof Ardern said the charity’s focus on breastfeeding meant parents who opted not to feed their baby this way did not receive any support.

Instead, families will be offered a wide range of help through the council’s Start Well scheme, which will include support with breastfeeding and other forms of feeding, but also other areas such as sleeping and toilet training.

In future, it will be a council worker, rather than someone from Breastfeeding Together, who contacts parents to offer support after a birth.

The council said at the time that it hoped the charity would be involved in the new service in some way.

It is understood discussions have taken place between members of the two organisations, but decisions about Breastfeeding Together’s involvement have not yet been made.

Ms Halliwell previously said the decision not to renew the contract was “devastating” for the charity, as the only funding it currently receives is from the council.

Breastfeeding Together, which has 11 employees and more than 65 volunteers, supports families across the borough, with its work including 300 home visits to new mothers and 500 face-to-face contacts with pregnant women and their families each month.