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Parent Group Included In Photography Exhibition in Hebden Bridge

Becoming a parent for the first time can be a challenging time, especially in the early days, and this has been particularly true for people entering parenthood during the past 12 months when lockdowns and social distancing have meant many of the usual baby groups and support networks haven’t been taking place physically, and even visits with friends and family have been restricted.

As part of our Children and Families work here at Halifax Opportunities Trust we recognise the additional support some new mums need around confidence, self-esteem and connecting with their own sense of identity as well as that of being a parent. As a result, we facilitate Friends groups where new parents can come together and offer peer-support to help one and other navigate the ups and downs of parenting. Our Friends groups usually center around a specific activity such as crafting or cooking to open up conversation and give new parents a break from caregiving responsibilities for a short period of time. During lockdown our Friends groups have taken place online over Zoom and WhatsApp rather than in person.

During Spring ’21 our Friends group in the Upper Valley joined with a local artists studio collective to undergo photography classes with the aim to build confidence in the parents in using their mobile phones to capture images of everyday parenthood. Some of the parents also learned bookbinding skills to create albums of their work. Here is a selection of some of the images created as part of the group:

The results are being displayed as part of an exhibition at Northlight Studio in Hebden Bridge and the parents involved spoke about the impact this group has had on their wellbeing and confidence:

“ A brilliant project I felt so well supported” 

“Nice to have a group just for me, the focus on self-care made me think and I realised I need to take better care of myself “

“The impact on my family was that it gave me something to talk about, other than the baby” 

“I enjoyed that it was an adult focused group, the creative project was just for me, it’s helped me and my identity – I’m not just a mum” 

“The creative project was a great way to get to know each other” 

“It was great having some ‘me time’ – the group was for me and it was inspiring. The impact was that I’m taking better photos that we will have to look back on, I learnt a new skill and it made my husband realise that not all groups are baby focused.”

“Rebecca and Kay were great hosts and it made the group brilliant. It worked have the other facilitators doing the creative bit, there was a good balance between the self-care and creative side”

“I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to do the group”

“The WhatsApp group is a great way to get to know each other between live sessions and it’s a space I know I can find support if I need it and share photos I’ve taken.”

“You know you are not alone – it helped me make friends who I hope to meet in person soon.”

“The group lifted my mood when I felt low.” 

“The group was very supportive and I have more confidence and feel more confident taking photos” 

“I began to understand how important self-care is, it’s more important to me now” 

“One of the best online groups – well hosted and nice to learn new skills and everyone was so nice” 

“The bookbinding was great, I’m going to use it as a photo album for the prints from the disposable camera”

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