1.0 Executive summary
Background and aims
The Maternity Champions Pilot Project (MCPP) has been running since 2014 across Mozart ward (Westminster), Queen’s Park Maternity Champions (since April 2014); and Old Oak ward (Hammersmith and Fulham), Old Oak Maternity Champions (since December 2014). Both projects are funded until September 2016. The project aims to develop a skilled and trained cohort of volunteer Maternity Champions local to each neighbourhood specialising in supporting new parents from pregnancy into the first year of a child’s life. Their aim is to increase the uptake of ante and post-‐natal services, guide and support new parents and encourage parents to form social groups to support each other.
Public Health for Hammersmith & Fulham and Westminster has funded the MCPP for two years. With the pilot phase drawing to a close the Public Health Service commissioned this evaluation of the pilot programme across both wards in June 2016 to understand better the strategic fit of the programme within the local maternity pathway and the potential impact on expectant and new parents, maternity champions themselves and maternity pathway services.
Our study methodology is visualised below and was undertaken between end June and early August 2016:
During the fieldwork phase the research team engaged with:
• Maternity Champions’ project staff from both projects
• 17 maternity champions through two focus groups
• 25 maternity champions via an online survey (including 6 former maternity champions)
• 84 parents via an online questionnaire (56 parents with previous exposure to the Maternity Champions and 28 with no former knowledge of the scheme)
• 12 parents through a focus group
• 14 stakeholders via a series of telephone interviews Our findings The standout findings and our reflections are presented in the diagram overleaf and include:
• Significant impact on local families including 7 out of 10 respondents believe to have been helped greatly by the scheme
• Health impacts particularly in the fields of mental health, reducing isolation and breastfeeding
• Supporting the promotion of key Public Health messages including smoking, child oral health, nutrition and child immunizations
• Evidence that indicates a positive impact and influence on the local maternity pathway and clear policy fit to compliment ‘Give every child the best start in life’
• A return on investment including over 4,300 hours of volunteering hours and a strong community-‐based maternity asset
• Creation of a successful volunteer scheme which has recruited and trained 43 local people and produced notable uplifts for volunteers in the areas of life satisfaction; employability and personal development; and health as a direct result of their involvement in the Maternity Champions’ scheme.
2.0 Background summary
The Maternity Champions’ Pilot Programme (MCPP) was borne out of the need identified by Community Champions 1 - local people living and volunteering in their community to improve health and wellbeing and reduce inequalities - working closely with local parents within the Queen’s Park and Old Oak wards.
The MCPP has been running since 2014: the Mozart ward project, Queen’s Park Maternity Champions (QP), commenced in April 2014 followed in December of the same year by the Old Oak ward project, Old Oak Maternity Champions. Both projects have funding until September 2016.
The MCPP aims to develop a skilled and trained cohort of volunteer Maternity Champions (MCs) specialising in supporting new parents from pregnancy into the first year of a child’s life. They aim to increase the uptake of ante and post-‐ natal services, guide and support new parents and encourage parents to form social groups to support each other.
Public Health for Hammersmith & Fulham and Westminster has funded the MCPP for two years (with additional top-up funding for a further six months’ activity on Queen’s Park from West London CCG to enable both projects to complete end September 2016). With the pilot phase drawing to a close the Public Health Service commissioned an evaluation of the pilot programme across both wards to understand better the strategic fit of the programme within the local maternity pathway.
This evaluation therefore seeks to explore the programme’s:
• Impact on participant and non-‐participant expectant and new parents living in Queen’s Park and Old Oak ward up to the first year after the child’s birth
• Impact on the volunteer Maternity Champions as individuals and as a potential lasting legacy of community-based assets
• Impact on services including midwifery, health visitors, GPs, ante and post-natal, and children’s centres particularly early uptake of services and identification of vulnerable women.
• Impact on cooperation and partnerships with relevant services and diverse local communities such as improvements to maternity pathway
• Demonstration of economic added value of the pilot projects.
In addition to these aims the Public Health Service would like to understand holistically whether the programme delivers value for money for the local health economy and, if appropriate, what are the key programme elements that bring success. 1 Community Champions work in close partnership with the health, social care, children’s, community and voluntary sectors to deliver sustainable solutions to health and social care problems and issues. See more at communitychampionsuk.org
3.0 Pilot programme overview
The Queen’s Park and Old Oak Maternity Champions’ pilot projects are based with the providers of the Mozart (Westminster City Council) and Old Oak (London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham) Community Champions’ projects respectively. Their respective delivery organisations are Paddington Development Trust and Family Mosaic. These sites were chosen for the pilot programme because of existing close working links between the Community Champions’ projects and local children’s centre in each location; as well as new community-based co-location arrangements of midwifery and health visiting services in the children’s centres. It was hoped the pilots would represent a new way of partnership working between the local community via the Maternity Champions and these services, children’s centres and clinical services. The aim was to increase early access to and uptake of services in the maternity pathway, particularly amongst harder to reach and more vulnerable communities as well as increase and enhance support to vulnerable and ‘harder to reach’ expectant and new parents.
Ahead of these pilots, Community Champions and Children’s Centre staff in each location reported that the majority of parents with whom they work feel overwhelmed and confused by the amount of written information and advice given, particularly for parents with English as a second language. It was found that most are happier where information is shared verbally whether this is formally or informally from their peers.
The period immediately following birth was highlighted as a particularly challenging time for new mothers, who want more friendly support and advice from someone who has gone through the experience themselves. They also wanted the opportunity to meet and bond with other parents so they would feel less alone …
You can download the Full Report here Maternity Champions Pilot Programme Evaluation download PDF