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Mothers & Maternity Mates - Stories of Encounters

Download the Booklet

Please click here to download a PDF of the booklet, Mothers & Maternity Mates - Stories of Encounters

At our event in October 2016 celebrating 35 years of WHFS (Women’s Health & Family Services) we were very pleased and proud to present our booklet, Mothers & Maternity Mates - Stories of Encounters.  These stories provide an insight into the Maternity Mates programme and the important work we do to empower disadvantaged pregnant women and change lives.

The stories were gathered by journalist, Andrea de Lucy, who was inspired by the work of our dedicated volunteer Maternity Mates and the heart-warming stories from the mums they have supported.  Here’s what Andrea says about her experience of compiling these stories:

I have been a journalist for almost 15 years and it’s not often that I can make a real connection with the people I am writing about.  I was heavily pregnant with my second child while interviewing the wonderful mothers and Maternity Mates featured in this publication.  

Having had a difficult first birth and filled with nerves about the impending second, I was fully absorbed in their stories and filled with respect for them and the WHFS team.  I hope that through these engrossing case studies, their voices can be heard and the Maternity Mates scheme will be embraced widely, gaining the support and acknowledgement it deserves.
Andrea de Lucy (October 2016)

Midwives also gave us their feedback for “Stories of Encounters”

When we interviewed midwives, they overwhelmingly said they wanted every mum to have a Maternity Mate.  One midwife told us:  "It is time-efficient, spares emergency service resources, there is a definite cost benefit… and most praiseworthy, it creates a positive birth outcome."

About Maternity Mates

Maternity Mates are female volunteers trained by WHFS to offer practical and emotional support to disadvantaged pregnant women, helping them gain a positive experience of giving birth and caring for their new baby.  Support starts any time from the 5th month of pregnancy, through childbirth and up until the early weeks of motherhood.  

The programme was developed by WHFS in 2010 and currently operates in some of the most deprived boroughs in east London with funding from the NHS and the Big Lottery.  Maternity Mates are drawn from local communities and bring their own specific, local cultural knowledge and are particularly able to support women in multi-ethnic communities, providing a valuable bridge for midwives and other health professionals.  All volunteers receive accredited training with the Open College Network and at October 2016, 170 Maternity Mates have been trained to provide services to over 500 mothers through the scheme.

Further information

Please click on the links below for further information on Maternity Mates:


Please click here for contact details for the Maternity Mates team.


Stories compiled by:  Andrea de Lucy  |  Edited by:  Marie O’Flaherty
Illustrations: Brent Clark  |  Booklet Design:  Dan Fentiman, Surface Studio