Speaking up for nursing mothers

The breastfeeding drop-in group that meets at Homerton Children’s Centre has been told it will have to close at Christmas due to funding cuts. Today, I took the campaign to Shire Hall, and urged councillors responsible for health and children’s services to help me identify funding to keep it going. I have received assurances that the issue of how breastfeeding support is funded in the county will be explored and I am very much hoping we can find alternative sources of funding for the group based at Cambridge’s Homerton Children’s Centre.

I am deeply concerned by the decision to cut this group’s funding. It’s short-sighted, and probably will not even save any money, as the children may miss out on the long-term health benefits of breast-feeding.  It is a well-documented fact that breast-feeding boosts a child’s immunity making it less susceptible to developing allergies and it is so important for bonding between mother and baby.

I visited the group recently and discovered that it not only serves mothers in this area, but all over the city and beyond, offering advice and helping mothers finding it difficult to breastfeed.

Organisers of the group are campaigning to have its funding reinstated and have so far raised more than £900 in donations towards a £5,000 target which will allow it to become a charitable organisation and apply for grants. Anyone interested in finding out more or donating can go to: http://bfsupportmatters.org.uk/

 

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Lib Dems announce free school lunches for infants

At the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow last week, I heard the good news that all pupils at infant schools in England are to receive free school lunches from September 2014.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg used his speech to Liberal Democrat conference to make the formal announcement. In addition, disadvantaged students at sixth form colleges and FE colleges in England will also be eligible from next September. Money is also being provided for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, should their devolved parliaments choose to spend the money on free lunches.

Free school meals were one recommendation in The School Food Plan, commisioned by the Government and launched in July by Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent. They found that in pilots where all children had been given a free school dinner, students were academically months ahead of their peers.

Nick Clegg said:

“Teaching healthy habits young, and boosting attainment early, will bring the biggest benefits. Universal free school meals will help give every child the chance in life that they deserve, building a stronger economy and fairer society.”

In closing the Liberal Democrat Conference in Glasgow, Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg re-emphasized the impact the Liberal Democrats are having in Government. Click here for a copy of his full speech.