Planned changes to Birth Companions’ services in response to COVID-19
Birth Companions has decided that it is now necessary for us to find alternative ways of supporting the women we work with during the COVID-19 outbreak. This decision has been taken based on current advice and following consultation with staff and volunteers.
We are currently working to plan a range of alternative forms of support in prisons and in the community, and updates will be provided via individual services as those plans develop further. Our focus will be on providing emotional support and information. This might involve communication through phone calls, email and post; the delivery of practical items or other ideas. We will be asking women what they feel they most need during this difficult time, and will be as flexible and responsive to those needs as we can, working in ways that protect and support our staff and volunteers, and their families.
Regular updates will be shared on our social media channels and our website. We will also be in direct contact with all the women we are actively supporting, and all our volunteers, funders, partners and wider stakeholders to explain any changes to our working arrangements.
The impact of COVID-19 on women facing multiple disadvantage
We know that people who already experience multiple disadvantages will face significant challenges in the months ahead. Those who are already socially isolated, who rely on food banks and free school meals to help feed themselves and their families, who rely on public transport and who are in precarious housing and employment situations, do not have any buffers to help them weather this storm. For the women we support, these issues come alongside the anxiety and isolation many women from all walks of life experience during pregnancy, birth and the early stages of motherhood. So our work and our support is as important now as it has ever been, albeit in an adapted form.
As well as maintaining communication and offering personalised support throughout this period, we will also be making sure that the voices and needs of women facing multiple disadvantage continue to be heard and considered during these busy and uncertain times.
We will update this page on a regular basis, you can also follow us on social media for updates (links below).
Latest information and guidance relating to COVID-19 can be found at the following sites
Public Health England - General advice and guidelines
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists - Advice and guidleines for pregnant women
NHS England - General advice and guidelines
World Health Organisation - General advice and guidelines during the COVID-19 outbreak
Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative - Infant feeding advice
Royal College of Midwives - advice and guidance for pregnant women
Doctors of the World - NHS guidance in different languages
Coronavirus and Prisons - Guidance about visiting prisons