The WHFS (Women's Health & Family Services) volunteer Maternity Mates™ project is an exciting and rewarding scheme that provides accredited training to volunteers, enabling them to support women through the latter stages of pregnancy, childbirth and the early weeks of motherhood.
How to enrol on the Maternity Mates™ programme
WHFS hold open days several times per year to recruit Maternity Mates and where potential volunteers can meet the Maternity Mates team. It's an opportunity to speak with WHFS staff and experienced Maternity Mates, as well as meet mums we have helped.
The next open days will be scheduled soon. Check back for details here.
The application form is available here (selection option A). Interviews are held on a rolling basis throughout the year.
During the open day, you will hear what it's like to be a Maternity Mate and what we expect from volunteers.
Here's how Maternity Mates see their role:
"It has been an honour and a privilege to support women as a Maternity Mate. I have loved developing a strong connection with the mums and helping them find their own voice and confidence."
"It was a very special experience for me being a Maternity Mate - it was a learning curve, it was positive and exciting. I have used it as a stepping stone and as a tool for my self-education."
"It has been so great to help women and feel like I am making a difference. I've also learned so much and am excited about my future opportunties."
What we expect from Maternity Mates
We expect a high degree of professionalism from our Maternity Mates - this is a very rewarding role that makes a real and lasting difference to the lives of the people we help. These are much sought-after roles and we have a limited number of vacancies each year.
Maternity Mates can expect to support up to 2 mums at any one time, depending on their experience. The length of time each Maternity Mate spends with a mum will vary, but is usually around 2-3 hours per week. Maternity Mates are expected to:
- Volunteer for at least 6 months after they have completed their training
- Support at least 4 mums
- Attend at least 2 births
All potential volunteers to must be able to make this commitment when applying to become a Maternity Mate.
DBS checks (criminal records checks)
All Maternity Mates undergo DBS checks and need a good command of written and spoken English, as competent record keeping is essential.
Maternity Mates undergo an accredited training course to Level 3 with the Open College Network (OCN), which also counts as 9 points towards the Access to Midwifery course, Doula Skills & Breastfeeding Support (Level 3). WHFS also provides on-going support following this initial training.
The Maternity Mates training course consists of the following Modules:
- Preparing for the Birth - 2 days
- Breastfeeding - 2 days
- Child Protection - 1 day
- Domestic Violence Awareness - 1 day
The following Modules all last half a day each:
- Induction (including DBS checks)
- Antenatal Role
- The Birth
- Tours of maternity hospitals (currently cancelled due to COVID-19)
- Postnatal Role
- Course Summary and Next Steps
- Written Test Presentation
Once volunteers have successfully completed their training and DBS check, they will be ready to help their first mum and baby.
Maternity Mates™ is the registered trademark of WHFS (Women's Health & Family Services)