Greenwich

Royal Borough of Greenwich children's centres achieve Unicef Baby Friendly award

Published Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has become the first London borough to achieve a prestigious international Unicef accreditation.

The award is for the care and support it provides to pregnant women, new mothers and families.

It means the borough's children's centres, health-visiting services and maternity services are all now 'Unicef Baby Friendly accredited'.

Unicef's Baby Friendly Initiative is a global programme set up by Unicef and the World Health Organisation to provide a practical and effective way for health services and children's centres to improve the care provided for pregnant women, mothers and babies. In the UK the initiative works by supporting breastfeeding and strengthening parent-infant relationships.

Royal Borough of Greenwich children's centres have been accredited as Baby Friendly by the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative for excellence in supporting breastfeeding and parent-infant relationships following an assessment visit in January 2017.

The assessors found all of the children's centres provide an extremely welcoming environment for pregnant women, parents and families and a high level of support and care.

The borough has always aimed to follow the highest standards of practice when it comes to supporting breastfeeding, early years nutrition and supporting parent relationships. There are a number of exciting and innovative projects running in the borough including:

  • selling fresh fruit and vegetables (at cost price) from a number of centres
  • provision of cookery classes
  • breastfeeding drop in groups run by the Health Visiting Service
  • parenting programmes with an emphasis on responsive parenting and a one stop shop for issues around housing, finance and safety.

Cllr David Gardner, Royal Borough of Greenwich Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: "We are extremely proud to have achieved this international recognition for the excellent work we do to support pregnant women, babies and their families in their early life. As the first London borough and one of only a handful of local authorities to get this Unicef accreditation we are setting the standard for parent-infant relationships and breastfeeding support.

"We know how challenging life with a young baby can be and we want to provide as much practical support and help as possible to encourage mothers to breastfeed and to make it easier for them to make that choice."

Cllr Miranda Williams, Royal Borough of Greenwich Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "Our children's centres provide help, advice and information on all aspects of early life. They are a vital resource for families in the borough and I'm delighted the good work provided by these services has been recognised in this way."

Sue Ashmore, Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director, said: "We are delighted that the Royal Borough of Greenwich has achieved full Baby Friendly status. Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don't always get the support they need. Mothers living in the Royal Borough of Greenwich can be confident that their local health services will provide high standards of care."

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  • Greenwich Health Visiting service achieved 'Baby Friendly' status in 2012
  • The QEH maternity service at Queen Elizabeth Hospital then achieved full accreditation in November 2016
  • With our children's centres now becoming accredited it means that the Royal Borough of Greenwich has become a Unicef 'Baby Friendly' borough
  • The Royal Borough supports and encourages breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby's life as it protects against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in later life
  • For more information on the Royal Borough's children's centres go to www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/childrenscentres.

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