It’s now been a month since I joined NCT as your new Chief Executive and it’s been a brilliant start so far. Thank you sincerely for such a warm welcome. I’m thoroughly enjoying getting out and about meeting practitioners, students, volunteers and staff. Hearing about the passion for our charity and the amazing work we do to support parents is truly inspiring. Not just today, but throughout our history.
I feel very lucky to have joined NCT just as we’re celebrating a very exciting victory for our #HiddenHalf mental health campaign as NHS England announces funding for dedicated postnatal check-ups for new mothers. We’ve been vigorously campaigning for this outcome for the past 2 years since NCT research showed nearly half of mothers’ postnatal mental health problems were not being picked up by healthcare professionals. So this response from NHS England is a huge step forward and means more new mothers will be supported to talk about their mental health and get the help they need. The campaign was driven by our movement of volunteers, practitioners, staff and members and around 14,000 people supported the campaign online. I got the opportunity to meet with the British Medical Association last week, alongside Vicky Fobel, Public Affairs and Campaigns Manager, and they shared just how collaborative and engaging NCT’s Campaigns Team have been in pushing for this outcome. A huge thanks to them, and to everyone in the movement for your support for this campaign.
As I’ve been getting out to meet our teams and see our work, I have been hugely impressed with the passion, professionalism, commitment, vision and sheer hard work being exerted all across the UK in the pursuit of supporting every parent in their first 1,000 days. I particularly want to thank NCT practitioners, Karen Hall and Katie Kelly who both invited me to join their workshops over recent weeks. Karen’s study day on breastfeeding facilitation skills was such a great, fun day. I learnt a lot about our reach across the country and it was great to see the skills exchange and sharing of practice that takes place on these days. With Katie, I got to join a special women-only session and again it was a terrific insight into the power of our knowledge sharing and network building. It was really lovely to share in the excitement and anticipation of the expectant mums at the session. Both Karen and Katie showed me just how much talent we have in our network. It was great to see this so early in my journey.
Last week I joined the first part of the Regional Practitioner Forum in London which gave me the opportunity to introduce myself to our practitioner community and hear more from practitioners about the outlook and challenges of our education work. Our guest speaker, Maria Booker, from Birthrights, was truly inspiring and from the feedback in the room, it seems she prompted some very powerful conversations on human rights and birth.
I’ve just finished reading “New Generations: 40 Years of Birth in Britain” which charts NCT’s first 40 years. From the initial advert in The Times in 1956, announcing the establishment of NCT, Joanna Moorhead’s book tells the story of our decades of success in campaigning. Since then, we have supported millions of women and parents through birth and early parenthood whilst also securing major advances in professional practice and public policy. In these early weeks, I’ve really enjoyed seeing how more than 60 years later we continue in our conviction that education and community can radically transform the experience of childbirth and early parenting.
Please do continue to invite me to see your local activities and projects. Later this week I’m spending the day in Reading with PSA Becky England and volunteers and families at my local branch. I can’t wait for the Mums & Monsters Club! And next week I’ll be visiting NCT services in Peterborough with our NCT President, Sherry Bevan. I look forward to meeting more of you soon and continuing to hear your amazing stories about how you’re helping parents to do their best every day.
To hear more about Angela’s personal and professional background which has led her to NCT, check out this video.