Changes to Start Well services

The council and its health partners are proposing to do more to support families to access services in their community and to create an improved offer for mums and families, which would provide more support on health and wellbeing.

It’s part of the council’s Start Well programme which aims to improve school readiness and the health of children and families, as well as reduce health inequalities.

The new offer would mean mums and families are given support from Start Well services from the moment they access antenatal care.

Part of the current offer for mums is delivered by Breastfeeding Together and is specific to breastfeeding peer support.

In the Start Well consultation families told the council they wanted a more inclusive offer which incorporated a range of support, wider than breastfeeding.

The council’s contract with Breastfeeding Together expires in March, providing the opportunity to integrate breastfeeding support into our Start Well offer, but also provide more support with other feeding choices and aspects of health and wellbeing.

There will also be a new digital offer created where families can access information, advice and guidance during pregnancy and the early years.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What will be changing?

If you’re pregnant in Wigan borough you’re currently contacted antenatally by Breastfeeding Together who manage the bookings for antenatal education and provide support with breastfeeding after you have your baby. The council will now contact families to talk to them about their interests and what they would like support with, along with helping them to access our digital offer and antenatal education.

Why is the new service being created?

In the Start Well consultation one of the strongest asks from mums was to have regular community-based groups, where they could meet socially, receive information and advice and ask questions of professionals if they needed to. We currently only provide this level of support for mums who chose to breastfeed.

We also had feedback that this can be isolating for mums choosing to bottle-feed and that they’d also welcome support on wider issues.

We also know that not all families are accessing Start Well services and we want to make sure they have the opportunity to join in with things they may enjoy in their community.

I’m currently expecting a baby, will I get support?

Yes, these changes should mean you have access to a bigger range of support, antenatally and then at key stages once you have had your baby.

I still want support with breastfeeding, will I get it?

Yes, support will be available for mums with breastfeeding, bottle-feeding and a number of other topics such as sleeping and introducing solid food.

Are any services being cut?

We are joining up our services to make sure we make best use of the funding we receive.

What is Start Well?

Start Well is an integrated service which provides support in communities and aims to improve school readiness, improve the health of children and families and reduce health inequalities.

In 2016, five Start Well Family centres were created to support children and families. Each centre offers a whole range of activities and sessions. These activities may also run in community venues such as churches and schools.

We are in the processes of integrating health visiting and school nursing into Start Well, bringing the health skills of these services closer to schools, GPs and Early Years Settings and joining them up with existing Start Well services.

© Wigan Council