Voluntary and community support

Voluntary and community support

There is a range of community and voluntary sector organisations operating locally that provide support to families during the perinatal period (150). Some organisations provide specific support to help with mental health issues or financial hardship; whilst others run play and stay groups for babies and their parents and carers. These provide opportunities for parents and carers to reduce isolation and to build social connections as well as engaging activities to support child development. The following tables illustrate many of our local community and voluntary organisations that support new parents but do not provide a complete directory. For a more comprehensive and up-to-date list of organisations offering support to parents and their babies, please consult the How Are You Cambridgeshire and Peterborough website.

Organisation Offer Locality
Barnardo’s Barnardo’s Child and Family Centres offer activities for parents/carers and their children (under 5s), to support their development and to help build caregiver-child relationships. Cambridgeshire & Peterborough
Birth Companions Supports women in HMP Peterborough when they give birth, by providing practical and emotional support and advocacy. Peterborough
Connected Lives Runs the Circle of Security Parenting programme, which is designed to enhance parent-child attachment. Cambridge
CPSL Mind Runs a range of support groups, including:

  • Connecting Mums: a 6-week course for mums, focusing on the 5 ways to wellbeing.
  • Connecting Muslim Mums: a 6-week course for Muslim mums, focusing on the 5 ways to wellbeing.
  • Mums Matter: an 8-week course for mums experiencing poor mental health, that provides self-help tools and social connection.
  • Dads Matter: an 8-week course supporting new dads.

CPSL Mind also runs peer support groups and offers one-to-one support.

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough
Home Start Cambridgeshire
  • Matches parents to volunteers, who provide social support.
  • Runs groups which children and parents can attend to provide peer support for parents and to help child development.
  • Supports parent-infant relationships, through parent-infant psychotherapy.
Cambridgeshire (excluding SG8 postcodes)
NCT Birth and Beyond Community Support
  • Peer support service that focuses on engaging and supporting women and vulnerable families
  • Provides support to new mums to improve emotional wellbeing, reduce isolation and loneliness, improve confidence and self-esteem and increase access to local services
  • Trains local women and birthing people to become volunteer peer supporters. Volunteers can accompany parents to appointments, signpost to local services and provide emotional support.
  • Runs groups, activities and events (such as walk and talk groups) for new and expectant parents.
Peterborough, Fenland & East Cambridgeshire
NCT Breastfeeding Peer Support
  • Free breastfeeding support offered by peer supporters to feeding parents and their partners.
  • Offer a space for parents to meet and make friends to combat social isolation and loneliness
Peterborough and Fenland
Ormiston Families MPower Provides one-to-one goal-oriented support for women whose child or children have been removed into care, including those currently in care proceedings. Fenland and Peterborough
Raham Project
  • Supports mothers and their partners from ethnic minority families, who have recently used, or are currently using, maternity services.
  • Listens to and advocates for families who faced poor care experiences, and signposts them to support.
  • Runs an online support group.
Cambridgeshire & Peterborough
Romsey Mill Young Parents Programme
  • Provides intensive personal, educational and parenting support for first time teenage and young parents including one-to-one support, antenatal classes tailored for young mums and dads, postnatal groups for peer support and child development, parenting courses, support to move on to further training, education & employment.
  • Helps find and integrate young parents into groups and activities in the local area.
Cambridge City, South Cambridgeshire, East Cambridgeshire


Local Community and Voluntary Organisations delivering non-commissioned local emotional support to parents in the perinatal period

Organisation Offer Locality
Cambridge Acorn Project – Frazzled Fridays


·       Weekly meet-up for parents and carers offering breakfast and the opportunity to receive 1:1 professional support including relationship difficulties, anxiety, or dealing with children’s challenging behaviour.

·       Provides signposting to other agencies.

Cambridge Breastfeeding Alliance ·       Accredited breastfeeding counsellors offer free face-to-face practical and emotional breastfeeding support

·       Signposting to further information and support if needed

Cambridge or online
Cornerstone Care in Confidence


·       Offers free, unbiased advice and on-going support to women facing an unplanned pregnancy to help people make a fully informed decision

·       Offers post-abortion counselling to people who are affected by an abortion (which may have been recent or some years ago).

Cambridge and Huntingdon
It Takes A Village


·       Informal group run by parents for parents and carers of children and young people facing mental health challenges Melbourn, South Cambridgeshire
Kings Hedges Family Support Project


·       Stay and play groups open to families with babies or toddlers up to the age of 5

·       Access to Family Support Workers and Play Workers for support and information around parenting skills, loneliness and isolation, mental health issues, housing and financial problems, abuse, poor family relationships, support with finding employment,

La Leche League
  • Provides information and support about breastfeeding by telephone, online or at face-to-face meetings.
  • Also offers support about how to avoid difficulties, common concerns, starting solids and night times.
Cambridge, East Cambridgeshire
Mum2Mum befriending


  • Volunteer befrienders offer 1-to-1 support to mums aged 16-30
  • Befrienders offer individual attention and support and can accompany mothers to medical appointments or baby groups.
  • Offers signposting to other sources of support.


Cambridge, Histon, Cottenham, Northstowe


Local Community and Voluntary Organisations offering support to parents and carers experiencing financial hardship

Organisation Offer Locality
Ely Babybank ·       Community project offering second hand baby items, formula and nappies for parents and carers of children up to the age of 1 East Cambridgeshire
Fenland Families and Baby Bank ·       Community organisation supporting families in the Fenland area who are experiencing financial hardship and require support with accessing baby goods for their family. Fenland
Parent and Carer Hub


·       Provides essential items such as cots, prams, high-chairs, clothes, toys and other everyday items to parents and carers who find themselves in difficult circumstances. St Ives and surrounding area

What do local people say?

The perinatal mental health survey (118) carried out with over 200 mothers by Rosie Maternity and Neonatal Voices identified that people seek help through a limited number of channels for their mental health. Very few respondents mentioned charities and community organisations as a way of reaching out for support. The same issue was highlighted in the results of an online survey in 2023 carried out by Cambridgeshire Child and Family centres(186). Less than 1% of survey respondents indicated that they would ask for help from community groups.

Most of the services provided by local community and voluntary organisations are predominantly accessed by females. CPSL Mind offers an 8-week course called Dads Matter supporting new dads.

  • Feedback suggests that it is difficult to engage men in these sessions due to commitment issues as men often are the sole/main breadwinner in the family when a baby arrives to the family. Additional barriers of engagement included low initial referral rates from professionals and low awareness amongst fathers of the service in general.
  • Men also reported how sometimes they feel uncomfortable as sessions are led by female staff and they don’t feel fully understood and/or represented by female facilitators.
  • CPSL Mind have addressed these issues by bringing in male staff to deliver sessions, offering online peer support sessions in the evening on a rolling basis to remove barriers of access and to raise awareness of the support offered to fathers through employers predominantly employing males the service is seeing an increase in referrals.