Over 1,500 parents, health professionals and volunteers from NCT, the UK’s largest parenting charity, headed to Telford at the weekend to hear some world-renowned speakers and find out what the charity is planning for the future.
The charity’s annual conference took place at Telford International Centre, 15th -16th May with around 1,500 attendees, often with their children too. With the theme, ‘Bringing Power to the Parents’, they took the opportunity to share experiences, develop their professional skills and expand their knowledge, as well as discussing issues that are important now to families with young children and considering the future work and vision of the charity.
The audience had the chance to hear Davina McCall, TV presenter and NCT’s home birth ambassador, interview Ina May Gaskin, activist and well-known midwife, on why the way we care for mothers in labour should matter to everyone. Gaskin has practiced midwifery for over 30 years, written books on her experiences and lectured around the world. Gaskin said: “Speaking at the NCT’s conference this year was a great experience. Everybody was so positive and I hope our discussions will inspire confidence in the future of maternity services.”
Other highlights included talks from the BBC’s Apprentices – Saira Khan, NCT’s breastfeeding ambassador, and 2009 runner-up James McQuillan who spoke to parents about becoming a dad for the first time and all those little things you just don’t find out – unless you are supported by the charity! The importance of making it possible for dads to be involved right from the start and the transition to fatherhood were much discussed, while leading writer and Founder Director of Forum for the Future Jonathon Porritt’s views on being a green parent were also a hot topic.
The general secretary of the RCM, Cathy Warwick, also addressed delegates and had the opportunity to hear from many of the audience with ideas on what should be improved, including the need for enough midwives so that every woman can have care from someone she knows and trusts right through her pregnancy, birth and after her baby is born.
Belinda Phipps, NCT Chief Executive, said: “It was wonderful to be among so many people who give their time to run all sorts of services to provide new parents with information and the chance to form supportive relationships with other mums and dads.
“Our qualified workers who run courses, classes and helplines continue to amaze me with their dedication. I think our supporters underestimate the role they have as part of the only charity open to all parents, which takes them right the way through that rocky transition.
“We have an important role to play in making a better society by creating skilled, informed and confident parents for the future and making sure services support both the mother and father. Nobody supports parents like NCT supports parents, and our job now is to make sure everyone has a chance to benefit from the work we do.”