Many of our local third sector organisations and their volunteers have adapted their services to respond to the current challenging circumstances. Technology has proven to be a boon for volunteers who support breastfeeding in the Falkirk area and beyond, following the cessation of face-to-face groups and support options for safety reasons.
Victoria, pictured below, volunteers for the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (ABM) as a Mother Supporter, and for the Breastfeeding Network (BfN) as a Volunteer Helper in the Falkirk area. Victoria had volunteered previously for local art galleries and museums whilst living in England, helping to welcome visitors the venues, to set up exhibitions and complete research. She told us,
“After having my eldest son in 2017 I realised the support for breastfeeding mothers was minimal. I received excellent support from my local group and I really wanted to help other mums achieve their breastfeeding goals. This started off as training as a Mother Supporter with the ABM, I completed this training in July 2018, and then started volunteering at my local group in August 2018. Recently I also started helping with the ABM social media as well. In 2019 I was given the opportunity to train as a Volunteer Helper with the BfN and subsequently to volunteer at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, helping women on the postnatal ward.”
“COVID has impacted my volunteering a lot, first volunteering at the hospital was suspended mid March, then my local group stopped due to lockdown. Originally I thought this meant I couldn’t continue to support breastfeeding mothers face to face but several virtual groups were set up soon after, using Zoom. This means I have been able to continue to offer face to face support, which has been great as it has made the groups even more accessible for new mums who may have found it difficult to leave the house anyway in the early days for support. A lot of support has also moved online to Facebook groups, the ‘Forth Valley Breastfeeding’ Facebook page helps links people to the group for their local area.”
“My favourite thing about volunteering is helping women achieve their breastfeeding goals and getting to know lots of lovely people in the local area. If I had to sum up my volunteering experience in 3 words they would be FRIENDLY, SUPPORT, and ACHIEVEMENT.”