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MOTHER CALLS ON PUBLIC TO VOTE FOR POSTNATAL DEPRESSION SUPPORT CENTRE IN NATIONAL LOTTERY AWARDS FINALS

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A woman who suffered depression and debilitating complications after the birth of her children is calling on the public to cast their vote for a wellbeing centre in the South West which has supported thousands of parents experiencing difficulties relating to birth.

The Bluebell Place project run by Bristol based Bluebell Care Trust is appealing for votes after reaching the finals of this year’s National Lottery Awards – the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery-funded projects.

The project beat off stiff competition from over 700 organisations to reach the public voting stage in this year’s National Lottery Awards, which celebrate the inspirational people and projects who do extraordinary things with National Lottery funding.

 

Life with a new baby can be daunting and a quarter of all mums experience mental health difficulties. Bluebell Place opened in Bristol in October 2016 and is a dedicated perinatal emotional wellbeing centre, supporting families throughout the South West experiencing depression and anxiety related to pregnancy and birth. The project received £165,130 of National Lottery-funding through the Big Lottery Fund and supported over 1,000 mums, dads and infants in 2017 alone. Another 400 were supported through outreach work and the welcoming hub for parents has now expanded into Devon and South Gloucestershire.

Bluebell Place is just one of the two brilliant South West projects competing for votes after reaching the finals of this year’s National Lottery Awards and is the only South West project hoping to be named the Best UK Health Project at this year’s Awards.  

One of the people who can vouch for the positive life-changing impact of the project is 30 year old Amy Mann from Bristol. Amy, who is mum to Zakk, five, and Odin, two, suffered complications during her first birth that left her with disabilities. She still struggles daily with chronic pain and fibromyalgia. She also suffered with post-natal depression after the birth of her second child. Amy was so grateful for the support she received at Bluebell Place that she felt she needed to give something back. A year ago, she started to volunteer at the project every Wednesday to support mothers and fathers who are going through the same experiences. She even bakes them some delicious cakes.

“It was so bad that I would just curl up in a ball and cry every day.”

She says: “After Odin, my second was born, I started to feel out of my depth. I was numb, useless and not myself. Thankfully my partner and health visitor spotted that I had extreme post-natal depression. It was so bad that I would just curl up in a ball and cry every day. I would breast feed him, give him back to his Dad, and then just cry. I started taking antidepressants. I also had a catalogue of health issues. With the fibromyalgia, I would struggle to get dressed, struggle to change my son and just doing general housework. The big physical strain also took a toll on my mental health.

 

“I thought the kids would be better off without me to be honest and I felt like I was in a hole that I couldn’t get out of.”

 
“My Health Visitor mentioned Bluebell. I wasn’t in a good place when I came here first. I thought the kids would be better off without me to be honest and I felt like I was in a hole that I couldn’t get out of.

Meeting the other mums was a huge relief - I wasn’t alone. I started to feel more human as the weeks went on. I kept in contact with my ‘Bluebell Buddy’, who I could contact if I wasn’t feeling too good. When Bluebell Place opened, I was excited to have somewhere to go and meet other mums again. I could be myself, have a break and have time to have a coffee and a piece of cake with others who had been through the same. In fact, I met my best friend Jade on the opening day and now I volunteer at Woolly Wednesdays at the centre. I know if it didn’t exist, it would have taken me a lot longer to recover. In fact I’d probably be still curled up in a ball crying. Having something to look forward to made life so much better and brighter and I now feel like Amy again.”

Bluebell Care Trust CEO, Ruth Jackson, has personal experience of pre and postnatal depression and anxiety and understands how difficult it can be to access the right support.

“With the help of National Lottery funding, we were able to open Bluebell Place, a hub for parents to drop-in for informal support when they are struggling,” says Ruth.

“We have experienced staff who often go above and beyond the call of duty, so to be named as the Best Health Project would be well deserved recognition for all their hard work.”

Michael Sheen, the star of blockbuster films such as the Twilight saga, Underworld and Frost/Nixon, officially launched the voting period which runs until midnight on 27 July.

Throwing his support behind the incredible community projects up for the public vote, Michael Sheen, says: “I am immensely proud of the incredible work these National Lottery funded projects deliver day in and day out in our communities throughout the UK. Their truly life-changing work is only made possible through the amazing dedication of all the staff and volunteers who run them. My message is simple - these extraordinary finalists need your support, so please get voting!”

 

To vote for Bluebell Place go to lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards , OR telephone 0844 836 9693  OR use the hashtag #NLABluebell on twitter

You can also follow the campaign on Twitter: hashtag #NLAwards. Voting runs from 9am on 27 June until midnight on 27 July.  

The project with the most votes will be crowned the winner and receive a £5,000 cash prize to spend on their project, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and attend a star-studded glittering awards ceremony to be broadcast on BBC One on 26 September 2018.

There are seven projects competing for votes across seven categories, reflecting the main areas of National Lottery funding: arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport and voluntary/charity. 

 

Ends

 

For further information please contact The National Lottery Awards:

 

oswyn.hughes@lotterygoodcauses.org.uk / 02920 678 278 / 07976 324 179

 


Notes to the editor

Photo Captions (Please credit Nick Treharne)

 

Amy Mann managed to overcome her postnatal depression with the support of National Lottery Awards Finalist, Bluebell Place.

To give something back, Amy now volunteers her spare time at Bluebell Place to support other mothers and fathers who are going through the same experiences.

Amy with her two year old son, Odin.

Amy’s post-natal depression was so bad that she would just curl up in a ball and cry every day.

Film star Michael Sheen officially launches the National Lottery Awards 2018 voting period.

Michael Sheen with the National Awards Trophy which 49 National Lottery funded projects throughout the UK are competing for.  

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