I felt very privileged to have the opportunity to present the idea of Baby Week Leeds 2016 to a group of health visitor students (Agentes de Saude) on 5th November 2015 at Becketts University) This had been organised by Dawn Taylor professional health visitor and lecturer who is part of the Baby Week committee. She asked if I could talk to the girls about designing a poster for baby week. This was to be part of their portfolio course work and therefore were being marked on it as part of their assessment.
The room was full of about 30 students, some of whom were professionals midwives or nurses, and all with a higher education qualification. Hums of phones and muttering between themselves in groups dispersed as the last of the students filed in and sat down. Then the room became quiet and it was my turn. I told them some background information and how my research had led me to Brazil and discovered Semana do Bebe in Canela (2013). I also explained that how when I was working as a family support worker in Leeds, I couldn’t believe there were still so many people living with poor health when we had excellent free health services.
I described my idea of having a baby week in the UK (Leeds) as being the first English speaking country to replicate the model. If Brazil can work with grassroots and influence national policy then why can’t we work with our national policies and try to influence our grassroots communities? We looked at how Brazil had been practicing this for 16 years now and their own publicity each year including the baby mayor which brought; ‘Aah’s and Oo’h’s’.
Suddenly they began firing ideas and questions at me. Suggestions inspired new questions which were then bounced around the room. Mainly surrounding ‘how are you going to engage the families?’. ‘Are you going to get famous personalities?’ ‘A baby carnival?’ Suddenly a virtual database of new ideas sprung up in mind were once there was none. I had of course had some ideas including engaging families through children centres and groups, but I was inspired by them and the fact that they had ‘got it’.
Thank you all the ladies who came to the presentation and for yourselves engaging for an hour. I hope your posters will help to attract the families we need to get involved with Baby Week Leeds 2016.