Sunday April 15 saw the North East NCT branches host a Big Push event, a day aiming to raise funds and reduce isolation for new mums and families which might be struggling with loneliness or postnatal mental illness.

What is an NCT big push event?

The Big Push is a sponsored 5km buggy push event to raise money to help combat loneliness among new parents. Funds raised will be used to develop perinatal mental health awareness workshops and a range of practical resources to be rolled out across the UK through our network of local branches.

Anna Maddox, Head of Partnerships at NCT said:

Mild to moderate mental health issues after you have had children is absolutely rife, and this thing where people can get a bit of exercise and can chat, this is absolutely where it is solved and if NCT or society can do more of this, getting people together outside in the fresh air doing stuff it will really help.

I think the Big Push events are so important because gets people out and about, doing a bit of exercise and giving them a reason to walk and talk. That’s how you break barriers down – getting people together talking. If people said they need professional help, this isn’t the right place for them, but low level and low mood on a day like this, it’s got to help. It will improve things and give people social circles.

Alison Stephenson, Regional Coordinator for the North East also said:

Big Push events encourage families to spend that time together, it’s been nice to see so many full family units out today rather than at a play group where you would sometimes just see one parent and child. Whereas the Big Push is all about a whole family event and making friends.

Where did big push happen this time?

NCT branches from the North East region came together to organise an event on April 15 at Herrington Park, Sunderland. 

The day saw over 50 families come together to give loneliness’ a big push. The day began at 10 am at Herrington County Park and consisted of walking, face painting, food and of course, lots of fun.

What do our supporters, volunteers, and staff say about the event?

Vicky Robinson, Branch coordinator for Sunderland said:

I haven’t experienced post-natal depression myself and I didn’t know much about it before I became involved in NCT, but since I have become involved as a Branch Coordinator, I have learnt quite a lot from people who suffered PND how vital NCT was in helping them get out of the house with other parents and start to address the issues they were experiencing. I had a friend who told me about her post-natal depression and I was then able to signpost her to get help.

Alison Stephenson, Regional Coordinator for the North East branches tells us why putting on these events are so important: 

I got stopped twice on the route. Once by an elderly couple to ask who we were and what we were doing – all these hundreds of people walking in yellow jackets everywhere. I spoke to them about it and the lady was telling me about her own experience of post-natal depression and how in her days there was nothing and how amazing she thought it was that something was now out there. I thought that was a really nice thing to know – that we’re doing something positive.

And we also met a lady on the route who hadn’t heard of NCT and who was asking about the facilities of her local branch because she feels lonely and needs some support and group to go to, so we gave her the information for her local branch so she can now go get some support. So that kind of impact – we have made a difference to her today. That’s what it’s all about! 


How do I get involved with the next one?

Please keep an eye out for the next event on your branch Facebook pages.

If there isn’t a Big Push event happening in your area, have you thought about organising one? We want to see more Big Push events happening all over the country so that we can give loneliness a big push. 

See where there have been other Big Push events

Alison Stephenson Regional Coordinator for the North East tells us why putting on Big Push events are important:

We need to put on more big push events because some people don’t even know that NCT and these types of events exist. A woman we met earlier was just here in the park herself going for a walk to get bit of exercise, she was struggling with SPD and just needed that get out and she didn’t know we were here so it was pure luck. So, it raises awareness for your Branch, but also you only have to look at the smiles on the kid’s faces today from the excitement of seeing Puddle the Duck to know that it was a success!

If you’re going to put on an event, Make sure you have got a good team. Use your Volunteer Support Officers, that’s what there for and they have a lot of knowledge to share. They can take a burden off you because you have to be realistic, we are volunteers, so to have to put on such a big event by ourselves whilst we work and bring up a family is tricky. I would definitely say to a Regional Coordinator, get in touch with the Volunteer Support team and use them.

Would you like to see a Big Push event in your area? Read more about why you should fundraise and learn about how to put on your own event.