Southampton’s young parent support given funding boost by Local Freemasons

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Some of the most vulnerable parents and babies in Southampton will be given intensive support from trained volunteers thanks to a grant from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Freemasons to No Limits.

The £59,000 grant will provide funding for the Bright Beginnings project, which trains volunteer befrienders to support young parents, aged 17-24, through pregnancy and until their child is two years old. In addition, as many as 130 vulnerable young parents will be given parenting skills training and ongoing support from the charity’s youth workers.

Bright Beginnings is the only service in Southampton to provide this one-to-one intensive support for vulnerable young parents. Volunteer befrienders will help the young parents overcome challenges such as poor housing, mental health issues and negative relationships. 

They will also help them with practical issues such as attending health appointments and going to mother and baby groups. 

The volunteers help parent and child grow together within a warm, loving environment, stopping intergenerational cycles of neglect, abuse and violence. The relationship helps build the confidence of the young parents.

The grant from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Natalie Webb, No Limits CEO, said: “We’re grateful to Hampshire Freemasons for their generous grant which is allowing us to expand our support for highly vulnerable young parents. 

“We’ve given essential support to almost 50 young parents over the last two years, laying the foundations for a healthy childhood for their babies. Thanks to the Freemasons, we will now be able to help more young parents than ever before.”

Jon Whitaker who heads the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Freemasons, said: “I’m really pleased we’ve been able to help No Limits with their hugely important programme to support some of the most vulnerable young parents in the country. 

“These young parents have often had difficult childhoods themselves and No Limits offers one-to-one support that gives parents much needed support and empowers them to give their babies a safe, healthy and happy start in life.”