2018 GSK IMPACT Awards: WILD Young Parents Project

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Part of GSK IMPACT Awards

Article information

  • Posted:Thursday 17 May 2018

WILD is a small vibrant charity supporting young parents. Many have come from disadvantaged backgrounds, experiencing poorer health for them and their children. It works with both mums and dads, running group sessions across Cornwall, focusing on mental health, better relationships and healthy lifestyles, including establishing smoke free homes. It also works with and trains a wide range of organisations.

We were impressed by the way the organisation works together with parents, and its proactive approach to developing partnerships that help support its work. It is a dynamic and caring organisation that is making a real difference to the
health and wellbeing of young parents.

GSK IMPACT Awards judging panel

Video transcript

I’ve been with WILD for about three years now. I started towards the end of my pregnancy. It was definitely a dark place in my life and I thought that maybe my baby might have been better off without me. My friend actually set me up with WILD and said, “Look, this will be a brilliant group for you to go to,” and I was a bit scared, a bit nervous. By the time I left I felt like the best mum that I could be and I knew where I wanted to be in life. 

WILD is a project for young mums, young dads and for their children under five. 

It’s simple really. We want young parents and their children to be healthy, safe and happy. We run ten groups every week for young mums and their children across Cornwall and we target those with the highest rates of child poverty. We’re a relatively small charity, we operate on less than £450,000 a year. For that we cover the whole of Cornwall. Last year we reached 213 young mums, 115 young dads and over 250 of their children. We also ran training for over 200 multi-agency professionals from police, to schools, to health visiting and social work. 

I’m in a very small village with no transport and no other young mums around me, so coming to WILD really helped me a lot to get out of my house and out of my little quiet shell. 

Cornwall is one of the most poor counties in the UK, everyone who comes down here sees a rosy version of our absolutely beautiful county, but actually that hides pockets of real poverty and this leads to negative health outcomes for young parents and most importantly for their children. 

I think everybody wants to do the best that they can but if you’ve got limited opportunities and limited support around you it makes it really hard. 

They really consider the wider picture so although they have brilliant understanding about somebody’s mental health they’re also thinking about the father and about the attachment to the baby and keeping mum well.

The work that WILD does to engage those vulnerable families is really second to none. They have their crèches that are running at the same time as their workshops so they will be working with the parents independently and then bringing the parents and children together for activities. 

The first three years of a child’s life are the most important. Our parents can build better bonds with their children through music, through dance, through outdoor play, through swimming and holding their children, those activities are the ones that will build that positive bond for the future. We look at smoke free homes and set achievable outcomes for our families. Our health partners are essential to us being able to do our job. We work with health visitors to support parents, commissioners to look at how services should be shaped. The perinatal mental health team supports those two thirds of our mums who experience mental ill heath after they’ve had their baby. We also work with dentistry to improve children’s dental hygiene and health. With those mums who have the extra risk associated with their children and are at risk of having their children removed, 47% have had a reduced multi-agency risk scoring around safeguarding and 30% have had their child protection plans removed. 

I can’t imagine what it would be like without WILD. WILD fly the flag for young parents and I think they give a sense of hope.

I love it, I love WILD so much, I really love it.

They taught me that I can be as brave and as strong as I want to be and not be scared, they definitely influenced me to take big steps in my life (music and singing).