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Children North East is appealing for help from the business community to source six computer tablets for its unique parent/infant psychotherapy service


Regional charity, Children North East, is appealing for help from the business community to source six computer tablets for its unique parent/infant psychotherapy service so that it can improve its online counselling.

NEWPIP – Newcastle Parent Infant Partnership – is the only service of its kind in the region and one of only 27 nationally. It provides a range of help for mums and dads to encourage bonding between parent and child.

Stacey Wilson is just one of those who might benefit from the tablet appeal. She is currently receiving telephone counselling from parent infant therapist, Marie Clark.

The mum-to-be is just a few weeks away from becoming a parent for the first time but is finding being pregnant in the midst of a pandemic particularly difficult.

Her relationship with the baby’s father broke down and things have been a struggle financially.

Stacey, an online English teacher, describes being pregnant in the current crisis as quite simply ‘terrifying’.

“I’m a first time mum and all the antenatal classes have been cancelled so it’s kind of like I’m going into it a bit blind. There are a few online classes but I think a lot of pregnant women do the courses specifically to meet other mums. It can be quite lonely having a newborn so having the opportunity to meet other mums in your area is part of why most of us do the courses.”

Coronavirus is having an impact on Stacey’s birth plans in other ways too. Because Stacey is by herself, her sister was going to be her birth partner. However, Stacey’s sister works in a hospital where she comes into contact with Covid patients so that’s no longer a possibility.

Thankfully, Stacey has been able to access counselling from the NEWPIP service. She said: “It has been very useful especially as I already suffered from anxiety prior to pregnancy. Coronavirus didn’t help the situation, it made me feel even more anxious because I was trapped in the house all the time so it’s been invaluable to be honest. They’ve helped me a lot. I had a meltdown a couple of weeks ago but my therapist, Marie, was fantastic. She talked me through it and calmed me down.”

Marie says it’s a worrying time for anyone, particularly for expectant and new mums. “A lot of what we do at the moment is helping people feel less anxious. A lot of what worries people at the moment is about what’s happening and how it’s going to impact on them and their babies.

“Normally we go to people’s houses but at the moment it’s all over telephone or online. We work alongside people to understand what’s going on and help people think about ways they can be creative – how they might plan their day to go out safely or how they can keep in touch with people for example. It is tricky, it’s a highly anxious time and when people are already having difficulties, it really is adding an extra layer.”

Because some parents and parents-to-be don’t have computer access, Children North East would like to be able to offer them tablets to loan so that they can have face-to-face counselling online and so they can join in with the baby music sessions run by the charity.

If you can help, please contact: