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What Close-Knit did in 2023

Updated: Dec 20, 2023


Welcome to the Close-Knit 2023 update. It’s a 5 min read but if you are not here for details what you need to know is that we did some good stuff, we are still here and we are still committed to getting our messages out to as many people as possible. Check out our website and socials for free resources for parents of babies!

 

Keeping it real

 

In the interest of keeping it real, this blog will be full of joy and good news

but like everyone else, we have had our fair share of hard times. Like when a

big sale fell through which we knew could have potentially impacted thousands

of families for good, or like when we didn’t get the funding we needed so I had

to write redundancy letters (even to myself - although I’m not quite sure that

was necessary) or like when I’m struggling to juggle Close-Knit whilst trying

to practise what I preach in my own life and family. There is no such thing as

perfect, we press on because we are still just as passionate about helping parents

connect with their babies as when we first got funding to make stuff happen in

April 2022. 

 

 

Our bread and butter 

 

We have continued to sell our amazing ‘Baby Connections’ video animation (co-produced with parents and practitioners in Teesside), to organisations who work with parents of babies in North-East England, with a desire to spread it further afield.  The video resource explains to parents the importance of bonding, attachment and baby brain development in an easy-to-understand way.

 

These are the messages we care about sharing with parents and what we want to share with as many people as possible.

 

If you work for an organisation and are interested in sharing this resource with your families please contact us . Check out an extract from the video here. We have been funded to share the video along with other resources with local Teesside parents through our Baby Connections project, more on that later. 

 

 

Parent well-being video!

 

This year we launched our Parent Well-being Video, it is fully funded by the players

of the Postcode Neighbourhood Trust which means it is free for you to watch and

share; if you haven’t yet seen it check it out here. We made this video to support parent well-being in the baby years after hearing from parents about their struggles with their well-being and that they wanted to know more about how to help themselves whilst looking after their babies. 

 

The video was made with input from 50 parents and over 30 practitioners. The video is voiced with Teesside accents and features locations from across Teesside, creating connections with local parents and still being relevant to others. In July the video was launched at a playgroup and online, It has had engagement of over 1.9k across Instagram and Facebook and over 770 website visits to the video.

 




87.5% of the parents asked reported that the video had given them ideas of how to improve their mental well-being and 100% of those who didn’t already know of the importance of their mental well-being for their baby, reported that the video had raised their awareness.


The video is being shared through at least 15 partners including the ‘Healthier Together’ app which covers 9 areas in the north of England. Please get in touch if your organisation would like the video file to be shared with families at no cost to you or them or you can share it from our website or socials.

 

We wrote about the project in an abstract summary for the NENC Women’s Health Conference (see page 44) - nenc-womens-health-conference-abstract-summary-final.pdf (northeastnorthcumbria.nhs.uk) 

 

Our workshops 

 

This year we have delivered workshop sessions with parents, foster carers, parents-to-be and practitioners and we have had consistently positive feedback. Participants said the sessions were ‘friendly’ ‘very informative’ ‘very worthwhile’ ‘easy to follow’ shared ‘very powerful resources’ were ‘relatable’ with ‘passionate, enthusiastic and knowledgeable trainers’.

 

More recently we have delivered PSHE lessons around baby brain development to year 11 students in a pupil referral unit – which was awesome and certainly our toughest crowd yet although 100% of one cohort would recommend us to go into other schools and 88% said it helped them understand more about baby brain development – we’ll take it!


Interested in a workshop? Contact us!

 



Baby Connections Project

 

This project is about sharing resources and delivering sessions on baby brain

development, parent and baby bonding and parent well-being with parents in

Teesside at no cost to them. We have been generously funded by The Teesside

Charity, The Rothley Trust and The Goshen Trust. 

 

So far we have shared our messages with over 40 parents and carers through

playgroups, workshops and one-to-one interactions and with over 700 poem video

views through our website and our social media which has a reach of over 1k. We

also partnered with ‘Baby Week’ in Redcar & Cleveland local authority to

help promote our messages. 



We look forward to building on this work in 2024; if you are interested in getting involved either by attending a session, connecting us to a group of parents, or you would like to share our resources with parents in Teesside – contact us!

 

Better together

 

We have enjoyed working with some great people and organisations in 2023,

especially ones who are as passionate about supporting parent and baby

relationships as we are. Our poem ‘How can you help me build my brain?’ is reaching hundreds of vulnerable families in the North East via The Children's Foundation through their Baby Boxes and Care-experienced new parents in Warwickshire through a Baby Box project with Warwickshire County Council. 

 

In October we joined the North East and North Cumbria Health and Life Sciences

Pledge. We have also enjoyed participating in various events with other VCSE

and Start for Life partners, we take any opportunity we get to share ideas and

advocate for the benefit of parents, babies and families.

 

Our resources are being shared via organisations throughout the UK from Northern Ireland to Devon. Contact us if you are using or would like to use our resources or if you would like us to speak at an event. 

 

We are committed to growth and development as an organisation and have enjoyed input to enhance our business from Leading Growth at Teesside University, Kate Welch at Social Enterprise Acumen CIC and many others. We have also enhanced our practice with the Sensory Beginnings team, the Pallix Foundation Alberta Family Wellness Initiative and others.


We were honoured to be shortlisted for the Best New Community Champions Award in the Tees New Business awards in November. We didn’t make the cut but it was great for our passion for parents in Teesside to be recognised. 

 

 

2024

 

Through sales of our resources and workshops, generous funding from organisations like ‘The Woodward Charitable Trust’, and donations, Close-Knit can continue to benefit parents, babies and families in 2024.

 

Looking ahead we want to share our resources with as many parents and people as possible, to grow as an organisation and to (formally) expand our board. We have lots of innovative ideas of how to support parents and babies as early as possible, we would love it if we could make some of those come to pass this year. 

 

On behalf of the team, I just wanted to sincerely thank YOU for being a part of

the Close-Knit story whether that is as a parent, practitioner, organisation

lead, funder or general Close-Knit fan. 

 

A special thank you to the Close-Knit team who are always busy doing good, Close-Knit runs on a small number of paid hours so the volunteers’ time, skills, support and wisdom are much appreciated!

 

We hope you have a Merry Christmas and get to rest and have fun with loved ones.

We are taking a break and will be back on Monday 8th January 2024.



With love, Beth and the Close-Knit team 

 

PS

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updates, blogs and resources from the Close-Knit team

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