Gold award to area's health visiting service and children's centres

Clevedon & PortisheadThe Sirona care & health

From left to right): Tamsyn Grant (North Somerset Council Public Health), Nicky Stead (North Somerset Council Children’s Centres), Naomi Haynes with baby Ffion, Hayley Burton (North Somerset Council Public Health), Sara Zinn (Sirona Health Visiting). - Credit: Candid Pictures

North Somerset Council and Sirona Care and Health are celebrating after once again receiving an award jointly granted to the health visiting service and children’s centres in North Somerset.

The services have achieved a revalidation of its UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Gold Award after being granted the status last year.

The award celebrates excellent and sustained practice in the support of infant feeding and parent-infant relationships. The gold award is the highest standard for services which are accredited as Baby Friendly by UNICEF UK.

Services which achieve the gold award go through a revalidation process after a year. They have to submit a portfolio of evidence and assessors interview senior managers to make sure the services are maintaining their excellent standards.

Amanda Yates, health visiting lead at Sirona, said: “To receive a revalidation of this prestigious award is incredibly gratifying, and reflects the commitment of both parents and staff alike to providing the children of North Somerset with the best start in life.

"It is rewarding to know that North Somerset families continue to benefit from our specialised infant feeding service. It is especially pleasing as parents are asked to take part in the assessment process and are giving such great feedback about us to UNICEF.

"While we were all united in our commitment to providing support to mums throughout the coronavirus pandemic, I am especially proud that the commitment of the Health Visiting team was noted during my time with the assessor."

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Mary Lewis, director of nursing at Sirona, added: “To receive the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Gold Award again is an excellent achievement. We are very pleased for our North Somerset health visitors and their partners in North Somerset Council, as this has truly highlighted their on-going dedication and commitment to our services, and most importantly, to children and families.

“This is a fantastic award which celebrates excellent practice in infant feeding support, the important work our health visitors, children’s centre staff, peer supporters and many others play in nurturing the development of parent-infant relationships, and it makes me so proud of our collective team to continue being accredited as a Gold Baby Friendly service.”