Leeds Baby Week

Baby Week 2019: 100 reasons why Leeds is a child-friendly city

Baby Week returns to Leeds this week with over 100 special events and the launch of a new midwife-led online community for expectant mums.

From baby raves to dads’ breakfast clubs and Opera North coaching for tiny singers, Baby Week Leeds showcases the amazing range of local services, groups and activities on offer for parents, carers and babies in the city.

Kicking off with a celebratory opening event today, carers can enjoy free taster sessions of baby swimming, arts and crafts, bonfire night messy play, meet-ups, and a whole host of child-friendly activities on the theme of ‘Making connections: Bonding, healthy brains and wellbeing for all’. There are also special events tailored specifically to foster families and kinship carers, and a free conference for professionals.

Expectant mums in Leeds are also invited to join Facemums, a closed Facebook group led by midwives, which will provide additional local support and information sharing. The initiative is a pilot project funded by Health Education England and open to pregnant women with a due date in May, June, or July 2020.

Laura Walton, lead midwife maternity strategy and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: 

“Facemums is a fantastic initiative to empower mothers. Through the Facebook group women can gain valuable insights from registered midwives and form a network of peer support. Our aim is to develop a community of mothers who will act as health champions of the future, both in their families and the wider community.”

Leeds City Council is committed to making the city the most child friendly place to grow up in the UK. Leeds was the first city in the UK to adopt the UNICEF supported ‘Semana Do Bebe’ concept from Brazil, with other Yorkshire cities, including Bradford and Hull, since following suit.

The fourth annual Baby Week Leeds is supported by Leeds City Council and partners across the city, including Child Friendly Leeds, NHS Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

Councillor Fiona Venner, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children and families said:

“We have a bold ambition to make Leeds the best city for children and young people to grow up in and are working incredibly hard with our valued partners to drive this ambition forward. Ensuring every child in Leeds has the best start in life is a key element of our ambition, as it plays a vital role in making sure our youngest residents are better equipped to grow up happy, healthy and ready to learn. Baby Week Leeds is just one example of the fantastic work going on in our city – it really reflects the commitment of the Council and our dedicated partners to building a child friendly city.”

Baby Week Leeds launched in September 2016 and is an initiative aimed at bringing sectors and services together to promote the Best Start in life. Last year’s Leeds Baby Week saw the launch of the ‘50 things to do before you’re five’ app, which offers experiences to build skills and language, supports brain development in young children.

Baby Week Leeds supporter White Rose Shopping Centre will also be marking the occasion with a special tree-planting ceremony. On 14 November, the centre team and Nurture Landscapes will plant a tree for every baby born in Leeds during Baby Week.

Baby Week Leeds is now a registered charity sharing best practice around the country. For more information, visit www.babyweek.co.uk

Child Friendly Leeds is the initiative for everyone who shares the ambition to make Leeds the best city for all our children and young people to grow up in. From enthusiastic individuals to large organisations, every contribution counts and we can all play our part in making a difference. Launched in 2012, Leeds’ commitment to being the best city for children and young people is founded on the global movement of Child Friendly Cities initiated by UNICEF, and guided by the voices of children and young people in Leeds. Visit www.leeds.gov.uk/childfriendlyleeds

Facemums is a new initiative offering expectant mothers in Leeds the chance to join a confidential, professionally moderated peer support group on Facebook. Women due to give birth in Leeds in May, June or July 2020 will be able to access support from two midwives and chat to their peers for the duration of their pregnancy and early weeks of motherhood. Funded by Health Education England for a limited period in a number of UK NHS Trusts, the project provides mothers with an additional resource where they can ask questions, tackle anxieties and share information.