Volunteering Matters is delighted to be a finalist for the Families Included prize, presented by Essex County Council and the innovation charity Nesta.

We were selected for our idea “Healthy Minds – Happy Families” which seeks to address social isolation amongst parents and carers of children under 5 in Essex.  Based on our flagship Volunteers Supporting Families (VSF) model, it specifically targets mums-to-be and new mums at risk of developing or affected by perinatal mental health issues – pairing them with six to nine months of one-to-one volunteer family support (both emotional and practical).

Jill Williams, Business Development Manager on our Volunteers Supporting Families work said “It is great to have our idea endorsed by this prize and the two organisations behind it. It builds on the proven success of our VSF model and will help us evolve it for different needs and challenges in the communities we work in. “Healthy Minds – Happy Families” is aimed at pregnant women and mothers at risk of mental illness, as this group are likely to experience more suffering as a result of social isolation than their mentally healthy peers would.”

As finalists we have been granted £1,500 and non-financial support from Essex County Council to help us develop our idea, and we will  have the opportunity to compete for the final prize of £10,000 in early 2017.