Through joint working with NHS partners, Sheffield City Council has become the first standalone local authority in the country to achieve the Gold Award.

The Baby Friendly Initiative is a global programme set up by Unicef and the World Health Organisation aimed at providing a practical and effective way for local services to improve care for mothers and babies.

Sheffield’s Family Centres and Sheffield Children’s 0-19 Health Visiting Services have put the Baby Friendly Initiative into practice to create a focus on helping parents to develop close and loving relationships with their baby.

The services have also been praised for their commitment to promoting successful breastfeeding and providing support to parents who choose to bottle-feed.

The Gold Award is the highest standard in Unicef’s Baby Friendly Initiative and requires services to work together to prove that the right leadership, culture and monitoring is in place to ensure that the initiative is sustainable in the long term.

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families at Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Baby Safe Champion said:

“I’m really proud of everyone who has worked so hard to achieve the Unicef Gold Award as part of Sheffield’s commitment to providing exceptional services to pregnant and new mums.
“As a mum myself, I know that great support is invaluable in the early days, and that’s why it’s so important that our services make mums feel empowered and confident at every stage of their journey.

“This latest accreditation shows the outstanding service that our baby-friendly services provide, so please remember that they’re there to support you with any advice and guidance you need.
“I’d like to congratulate everyone who has worked tirelessly to achieve this well-deserved award.”

Liz Murch, Associate Director at Sheffield Children’s said:

“Our team is delighted to receive this award for the support we provide to families in the early stages of a child’s life. We particularly welcomed the feedback from Sheffield mothers about the kindness and consideration of our staff.

“We have a strong partnership with our colleagues at Sheffield City Council and Jessop Wing, and it is heartening to see that partnership recognised as well as the work we do directly as a 0-19 Service. We are proud to attain this prestigious award, and will continue working to provide the best possible service for the children and families we serve.”

The Director of Unicef Baby Friendly, Sue Ashmore, will present the Council  and Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust’s  0-19 Health Visiting services with a Gold Award plaque at a ceremony at Sheffield Town Hall on Thursday 17th October.