The first set of volunteers to be put through the baby massage course run by Sure Start Midlothian recently celebrated its graduation.
The group of 23 people completed the course, which has been run internally by the charity since 2009, but offered to the public for the past three years. And while individuals have passed the course before, the recent graduation event held at St Johns’s and King’s Park Church in Dalkeith was the first group pass.
Sure Start co-ordinator Jackie Davidson revealed more about the course, which helped around 1000 local parents and babies in three years.
She said: “We have had one or two pass before but we have now had quite a few pass so we put this event on.
“Some of the people had been doing it for a year and some took three years to do it because they are busy doing other things. It’s quite an academic course. There is an almost whole biology part of it.
“It’s quite intense so it can be quite hard to get there.
“All the students started off with a quite intensive three day course, learning the massage strokes themselves. Then they got into the community to deliver what they have learnt.
“And they also have to write up all their notes as well.”
Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation and third sector early intervention funding enabled the charity to offer this service to every new parent in Midlothian. NHS Lothian funding will cover some of the cost going forward but Sure Start needs to find more money to keep it going.
Jackie added: “This was like a pilot to see how it works out, we want to keep it going. We have got some funding but we do need more.
“A large chunk of the original funding was used in March 2016 but we managed to keep it going for a year, though we can’t maintain it. We have not started any other students but we hope to start more soon.
“We are looking at different funding options that we have never applied with before.”
Jackie spoke of the benefits of the course: “There have been hundreds of people we have helped, some have come back for their second baby, the waiting list keeps shooting up.
“It’s also about bringing parents together, it’s quite nice to meet new people in the community in the same situation as you. They could go off and teach it for themselves, it’s got quite a lot going on.
“The word is out their now, we just need to keep it going.”