Service a vital tool for young first time mums

Family nurse Nicola Marsden and Jasmine McHugh
Family nurse Nicola Marsden and Jasmine McHugh

A family nurse has been credited with helping to turn round a teen mum’s life - to the point of even setting her on the road to work!

Nicola Marsden not only helped young Jasmine McHugh through her pregnancy when only 16, but was also a rock for her when her baby was born, helped her through anxiety therapy and was at hand to help her successfully apply for an apprenticeship with Wigan Council.

Jasmine and her daughter Gracie

Jasmine and her daughter Gracie

Nicola works for the Family Nurse Partnership, which is a service provided by Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with the council.

The programme is for first-time mothers under the age of 20. It offers intensive and structured home visiting from early pregnancy until the child is two. It aims to improve the health of mothers and babies both in and after pregnancy and offers advice and information on everything from child health and development to employment and finance.

Jasmine decided to sign up to the programme in December 2014. The teenager was living with her mum and step-dad in Leigh and pregnant with her first child.

Jasmine said: “I first met my family nurse Nicola when I was 12 weeks pregnant with my daughter Gracie. As the pregnancy progressed I began to suffer with anxiety, I struggled to cope with this. Nicola then helped me overcome this with the cognitive behaviour therapy sessions. I found this very beneficial and I can’t thank Nicola enough for this.

I am so proud of the progress she has made and the person she has become.

Nicola Marsden

“Nicola visited me every two weeks. She listened and didn’t judge me. She didn’t just give me useful parenting advice both before and after Gracie was born but she also supported me when Gracie wasn’t sleeping well and helped me to get a referral to a dermatologist when her eczema didn’t improve.”

“She helped me and Gracie get our own home; contacting the housing department at the council and helping me fill in the forms.

“When I decided I wanted to work, Nicola even helped me to put together a CV and we practised job interview skills together. She recommended training courses I could attend, gave me a character reference and encouraged me through different job interviews until I eventually got accepted on to my current apprenticeship with Wigan Council; a job I really enjoy.”

Nicola said: “I could see that Jasmine lacked confidence but I could also see her potential as a good mum and as a person. I tried to support her to improve the outcomes for both her and Gracie. I am so proud of the progress she has made and the person she has become.

“The Family Nurse Partnership is a great initiative available to young mums in Wigan and Leigh. We know becoming a parent for the first time can be daunting, so we aim to offer both practical and emotional support to anyone coming into our service.

“We want to help mums have a healthy pregnancy, provide non-judgemental advice and support on child health and development and matters such as finance, jobs and housing.”

Jasmine added: “Me and Gracie have our own place and I am in a job I love. I am extremely grateful to Nicola for all her help and I would recommend the Family Nurse Partnership to any young mum in the borough.”

Find out more about the Family Nurse Partnership at www.bridgewater.nhs.uk/ashtonleighwigan/familynursepartnership/.

Wigan Council’s apprenticeship programme has given hundreds of young people like Jasmine the opportunity to embark on an apprenticeship. It’s also supported more than 300 businesses recruit an apprentice in the past two years.

If you’re a business or an individual looking for an opportunity contact Wigan Council’s Skills and Learning Team on 01942 489177 or email apprenticeships@wigan.gov.uk.