At Life, our services help people meet pregnancy and maternity with courage and dignity so they can flourish. Our Life Skills programmes help young mums in our Life Houses to grow in skills and confidence. Here's how the programme worked in the Littlehampton House.
In March, the Littlehampton Life House was awarded £1,000 from Tesco Bags to run a Life Skills programme in the House. The aim is to benefit the women and children living in the House, increasing positive mental health and well-being. It also helps get them ready to transition to independent living with their child.
The house already had a volunteer for the garden. Early this year they also recruited another volunteer to support with this Life Skills programme.
Having fun and enhancing well-being
So far the clients have benefited from gardening sessions, cooking, and play activities. These are delivered inside the House and in the back garden highlighting the importance of fresh air. The sessions provide a good opportunity for the clients to spend quality time with their children having fun. The sessions also support support their children’s physical and emotional well-being. One client said, “I am looking forward to doing more activities.”
Making musical instruments was an especially popular session – dancing and singing were enjoyed by all.
Growing by trying new things
For one client with anxiety, the play sessions allowed her to try new experiences with the volunteer’s support. For another client, cooking was an opportunity for their child to taste new food that had been grown. She said, “She really liked it, and ate it all!”
The clients get involved with planning for the activities. Even better, they’ve started to initiate play sessions together during the week. They have seen the importance of play for them and their children.
Learning skills for independent living
COVID-19 and lockdown had brought added pressures to the clients living in the Life Houses. They particularly felt the effects on their mental health and felt isolated from their families. The Life Skills grant has allowed the clients to use some of this time to decorate rooms and overhaul the garden. Having a living environment that they like being in has great positive effects, while also preparing them with skills for independent living.
Support Workers and volunteers also get involved in the sessions, and it creates an opportunity for conversation, laughing, and socialising together. For new clients it creates a relaxed environment to get to know other clients. One lady who had experienced low mood this year said that the garden session was “therapeutic and good for my baby to be outside.”
Plans for the rest of the Life Skills programme include:
- Cooking sessions
- Play sessions
- Garden sessions
- Community outings
- Monthly house coffee mornings
The Life Skills session volunteer says, “I am really grateful for the opportunity to come in and I look forward to trying out some other activities.”