The role of volunteers in a Baby Café drop-in centre
Mother-to-mother support is a key element of the Baby Café model of care, with skilled one-to-one help available for those who need it.
Our national audit for 2014 revealed that 6,786 volunteer hours were given to Baby Cafés that year. Trained breastfeeding supporters, leaders, counsellors, peer supporters and interested mothers are currently involved in Baby Café centres in a number of ways.
How can you help as a volunteer?
- Just by being there, and making other mothers feel welcome and included. For example, if you see a new mother come in who doesn't know anyone, you could introduce her and her baby to the group.
- You might more formally ask to volunteer. That would involve arriving a few minutes early and helping to set up the room, and tidying up afterwards. You could bake some cakes or biscuits to bring along with you.
- Train to become a peer supporter, working voluntarily in a Baby Café, supporting the facilitators. Peer supporters train for 6-8 weeks and some organisations offer a qualification at the end of the training, as well as reflective supervision. A peer supporter in a Baby Café might welcome mothers and make them a drink, talk to them and find out of they require more specialist help. Peer supporters are trained in basic breastfeeding knowledge and in how to use listening skills.
Ask your Baby Café facilitators what you can do to help them.