UNICEF baby friendly Gold award Beds  From left to right: Sarah Pickford, 0-5 Practice Development Lead for Bedfordshire Community Health Services Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford Sue Ashmore, Director of Baby Friendly Initiative for Unicef UK Jacky Syme, Service Development Manager for Bedfordshire Community Health Services  Image Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust

Award recognises the support of infant feeding and parent-infant relationships 

Health visitors from Bedfordshire Community Health Services are the first in the East of England to receive a UNICEF UK gold award for their work.

The service, which is part of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, is also one of only thirteen in England to receive the prestigious UNICEF Achieving Sustainability (Gold) Award. It celebrates excellent and sustained practice in the support of infant feeding and parent-infant relationships. The service held a celebration even on 27 February, attended by staff, volunteers, partners and local MP Mohammed Yasin.

Sarah Pickford, Baby Friendly Lead, said:

“Staff and volunteers work so hard to support mums and babies and promote breastfeeding, and it’s wonderful to see their commitment recognised with a Gold Award. We’re incredibly proud of the support we’re able to offer mums in Bedfordshire, and determined to build on our success too.”

A range of initiatives are available in Bedfordshire to support breastfeeding. From the Baby Brasseries support groups, to the breastfeeding peer supporter scheme, to the #FreeToFeed campaign promoting breastfeeding when out and about.

Sue Ashmore, Director of the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative said:

“We’re very pleased to present the Gold Award to Bedfordshire Community Services in light of their high standards, clear vision and strong leadership when it comes to improving outcomes for babies, mothers and families.

“We congratulate all staff involved and are looking forward to seeing what they achieve next.”

The award is the latest step in Bedfordshire’s Baby Friendly journey, which started in 2009. They received their first full accreditation by Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative in 2013.

Mums in Bedfordshire can find out all about the breastfeeding support services available to them here