Gosport & Lee-on-the-Solent volunteers who help mums are rewarded

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VOLUNTEERS who help mums in the area have been given awards for their hard work.

Alison Willis, from the National Childbirth Trust’s Gosport & Lee-on-the-Solent branch, picked up the ‘Most Innovative Volunteer’ prize in the charity’s southern regional awards.

Judges heard how Alison is ‘a powerful force in every area of branch activity’.

This includes gaining publicity, contributing to fundraising, generating branch events and the innovative introduction of Little Explorers, a regular group which takes place outside so there are no venue costs.

Each week the session is led by a different volunteer, in a different location and with its own theme.

Attendance has increased and with a small contribution from each parent the costs of materials are more than covered.

User Rep of the Year is Raine Ryland, from the NCT Petersfield & Liss Branch

In September 2010, Raine’s local midwife-led maternity unit was temporarily closed due to a birth boom and all midwives were called back to the local hospital.

Raine was one of a team of people who campaigned to re-open the unit and organised a public meeting.

The unit reopened in January 2011 with promises of better support from the NHS to promote midwife-led units and homebirth as a real option for women in the local community.

Judges heard how since the reopening of the unit, Raine has single-handedly taken it upon herself to support the midwives by keeping the maternity unit in the public eye by producing a quarterly newsletter, organising a fun-day and meeting the head of midwifery to keep abreast of local policies.

Both were presented with their awards on Sunday at a celebration in Maidenhead.

They now join the short list for the national NCT Stars Awards, sponsored by Pampers, along with winners from the other UK regions. The awards will be presented at an event at the House of Lords on October 31.

NCT has over 10,000 volunteers who give their time, energy and skills in more than 315 branches through a wide range of roles.

Miriam Blazey, NCT regional co-ordinator for the south central region, said: ‘All our volunteers make a difference to NCT’s work, helping us to support more parents than ever.’