Thursday, 21 November 2013

Real Baby Hubs for London | #EWWR2013 Competition

It's European Week for Waste Reduction so we're running a competition. Make a suggestion below and you can win an Ecoegg - great for washing nappies and reducing packaging waste.

This is what we want you to do. Imagine you're sitting round the kitchen table with a group of friends - like these mums did 20 years ago.

You've decided your area of London needs a place where new parents can go to hang out together with their babies/toddlers, get information about real nappies, potty training, breastfeeding and what else? Would you like a local Real Baby Hub with a sewing machine so you can drop by and repair something? A computer you can use while someone holds your baby? Perhaps a bit like Nappy Ever After - but with sofas and nothing to sell - well maybe liners, coffee, smoothies and ???

Tell us what would happen at your dream local Real Baby Hub. If there's an empty shop nearby that would make a great Real Baby Hub tell us the address too. When would it be open?

Our dream is that Mary Portas will stumble across this page with all your brilliant ideas and help us make them happen. Is it a good use for an empty shop?

Please note: after you've submitted your idea please send an email to nappies@lcrn.org.uk titled 'ecoegg' so we know you want to enter the competition. Please send emails by 12 noon Thursday 28 November to be eligible to win the prize.

22 comments:

  1. Very interesting idea, the more places there are for parents and children to meet the better. What will be the difference between the hubs and Children's Centres? Also, I'm not sure about the 'Real' in the name, I think just 'Baby Hub' or 'Family Hub' would be better.

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    1. Thanks Laura for starting the conversation. Yes, those names work better. The difference will be that the hub will be parent led and so hours to suit the parents who run and use it eg knitting evening? Also there will be the opportunity for parents to offer paid services. I'm sure there's more. What do you think?

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  2. great idea! a local place that really feels dedicated to parents with babies and toddlers would be fantastic, can we try it out in Bloomsbury?!

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  3. Yes! I think a lovely baby proofed place to relax with the little ones-all open planned so I can keep a watch without having to hover over them constantly! Maybe even have a small breakaway groups doing crafting activities such as my much neglected baby scrapbook? Location is flexible as long as there is lots of parent and child parking and close to bus stops!

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  4. Am very interested in this idea and it's actually something I've been discussing with friends particularly now that we have older toddlers and places are either unsuitable/expensive or just don't offer the things we'd like to be doing. We have the ideas and enthusiasm but alas not the premises so will be keeping an eye on what's planned!

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    1. Thanks Clair. Great to hear that there is a need for this kind of thing in your area. It will be parent-led. WEN will be supporting parents in establishing these hubs may be dedicated hubs or 'pop-up' hubs in existing public spaces - especially in the begining. Any ideas on the type of support and training parents who set up hubs will need?

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  5. Ever since having children, I think about what would be the ideal space and what offerings would work well for both new and seasoned parents. I think a permanent cafe is a necessity and then a flexible space to offer classes, events etc. In terms of what to offer, during the daytimes, weekly sessions on breastfeeding, cloth nappy library, toy library, sling library. For activity sessions would be great to have baby ones like massage and yoga but also toddler sing a longs. A weekly shopping event would be a great draw-- whether its a pop up shop (like Junior Style Sales), a nearly new sale or other sample sales. For evenings, would be great to have events/ talks catered to families and mums such as crafting workshops, starting your own business, film nights, maybe even pamper evenings. Location wise, something central is best but also expensive so can't always have everything. There are those empty shops on Upper St now across from the fire station which would be great but am guessing rent would be too high there!

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  6. What a great idea! I can't get my head round sewing at home at the moment, but would LOVE a place I could just swing by with my stuff... We live in Elephant & Castle and we can't find anything even remotely like this without taking at least 1 bus. So something round there would be so nice. I know a lot of Mums near Waterloo/London Bridge would feel the same, especially in winter. Fingers crossed!!!

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    1. Thanks Nathalie. I agree, sewing at home is too difficult with little people around!

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  7. What a great idea. I like all the ideas so far - sling library, cloth nappy library, pop up shop, swap shop etc. sewing machine would be great. And maybe cooking facilities for toddler baking/cooking and cooking classes for adults? We would have to think how it could be commercially viable unless we were able to get grant/council funding. Maybe a membership fee, corporate sponsorship, sales from cafe, hiring of space for events? And how would it be staffed? Parent volunteers with 1-2 permanent staff? Lots of practical issues to sort out. Would also be nice if it could somehow provide job/training opportunities for young people (18-25 year olds). As for location, ideally there would be all over London but would depend on having a core of parent volunteers in an area to drive forward. I'm in Hackney and I am sure there would be interest around and empty premises somewhere.

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    1. Fantastic ideas. Please keep them coming. Your enthusiasm, imagination and realism are what will help us get this off the ground. Thanks Bronwyn.

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  8. This is a great idea, and would go down really well in Croch End.Stroud Green. There are a few empty shops around, I’d be keen to help make a local hub happen!

    It’s tempting to think of a wish list of all the things a hub could provide, and I had similar thoughts to those already posted so won’t repeat. But I think it’s important to as far as possible link up with existing local organisations already providing services and activities, first to research what’s out there and what the hub could help promote, but also to identify genuine gaps and needs which the hub could provide.

    Saying that, most important I think is a welcoming drop in space for breastfeeding and chatting with some activities for keeping older children entertained (books, dressing up, some crafts). An affordable café would be ideal with comfy sofas, beanbags and breastfeeding pillows, and of course a nice, clean babychanging space.

    It would also be great to have a ‘deeper zone’ – space for practical workshops, discussions and talks – from fun stuff and practical parenting topics to relevant local and national campaigns. And space for coaching and counselling to help parents deal with all the changes having children brings.

    And finally, how to make it genuinely inclusive, non judgemental and not cliquey?

    Finally, finally – the chance to get a 10 minute neck massage would be bliss!

    Clare

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    1. whoops, Crouch End!!

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  9. I would like to suggest the library as a good location rather than a separate and new building, that way it can incorporate all the goodness that is already there!

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    1. Thanks Suzy - we will definitely start this project off in existing spaces to test out demand and develop good practise. Not least because our funders will want proof of demand. The idea is that this project will be funded through local councils' health & waste budgets because there are 2 potential outcomes - savings on preventing ill-health (social spaces, sharing information, social engagement, peer to peer support) and waste (increasing re-use activity and thus less waste to landfill/incineration).

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  10. I'm in Rotherhithe and have failed to get any of the other Mums I know in the Southwark area to use washable nappies, not helped by the fact that Southwark Council had stopped their voucher system (looks like they're offering starter packs now which would have been great for them - I got my voucher before they stopped it - but is probably too late now). I have been struck by the total absence of any mention of real nappies at any NCT or NHS classes I've been to. The council support is not widely broadcast in these areas. There are good breastfeeding support cafés, but if this could be linked into a more environmental approach to baby-rearing to include the topic of nappies, that would be fantastic. And from there the ideas could flourish, but that all seems a long way off here south of the river... I recently went to what was called a 'ludotech' in Paris. It was fantastic: a place for babies and children to come and play with their parents. It was beautifully kept and play areas ranged from a padded, cushioned baby area to dressing up to a computer games room. It was very discretely staffed and a calm atmosphere. Now, if that place could have a well-equipped changing area and a nappy info area, that would have been EVEN better....

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    1. Thanks Eleanor for letting us know about what's happening in South London with real nappies. Yesterday (not for the first time) someone suggested we calculate how much money real nappies saves boroughs in avoided collection & disposal costs. This is what WEN started doing 15 years ago! And we're still doing it. Well we'll be making a big fuss about that when the Waste Prevention Plan is published. Yes, they seem to do things for parents well in France - although not so good on real nappies I hear. I agree that it must be comfortable, clean and stylish so somewhere parents want to go.

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  11. No one has talked about sex yet? We've gotta have it, right? But who do we want to talk with about issues around sex post-birth? Other parents, with a glass of wine? With lots of laughter or could this do more damage than good? Does it have to be with a professional counsellor?

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  12. Hi, competition now closed. EleanorT is the winner of the Ecoegg. Thanks for all your comments. Please keep posting. We want to carry on the conversation.

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