Twenty-three-year-old Stacey first started coming to GL11 in Sept 2018 to take part in our 8-week HENRY programme. “As a young mum with 3 boys aged 10 months to 6 years old” comments Stacey, “attending the programme has helped me a lot. I was quite hesitant and nervous to attend as I am dyslexic, and I was worried that I would be left behind or asked to sit at the back of the room, just like in school. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Kim and Emma, our HENRY Facilitators, were fantastic, they made me feel welcomed and at ease. There were 6 other Mums on the programme and we were all treated as adults. I felt listened to and if anything was unclear, I wasn’t scared to ask for help”.

HENRY is a national scheme which supports behaviour changes to help parents gain confidence, knowledge and skills they need to encourage the whole family to adopt a healthier, happier lifestyle and to give their children a great start in life. HENRY views “a healthy start” in its broadest possible sense, adopting a holistic approach which focuses on the things that have a real impact in later life. This includes supporting breastfeeding, improving nutrition, emotional wellbeing, parenting skills, healthy nutrition, oral health and a more active lifestyle.

“My partner Karl works nights and sleeps during the day so before coming to GL11 the children and I would sit quietly at home watching TV to pass the time. Before HENRY I would feed the children first and then either skip my meal completely or pick at food. I now understand how important it is to spend quality time with the children, not to skip meals and to serve child size portions. We now eat together as a family! The HENRY programme has not only helped me with my confidence and patience, Callum has learnt to share, and his speech has come a long way. He is much happier because he can now make himself heard so there is less conflict and misunderstanding between us” explains Stacey, “Because of HENRY, I have also made friends with other Mums. Callum, who is nearly three years old, bonded with Jacob, another little boy at GL11, and me and the children now meet up with him and his Mum Daisy in the park to play and chat. Now that HENRY has finished, I still come to GL11 – we attend Family Friday where we get to chill out and play with other children. We’ve also started coming to Messy Monday and as a Mum I don’t have to worry about the mess we make!”

Kim Shearman, Family Support Worker and HENRY Facilitator at GL11, reflects “When Stacey first joined the HENRY programme, we noticed there was a lot of frustration between her and Callum because of his lack of communication. Stacey now encourages Callum with his language skills and is also more aware of boundaries and consistencies. All of this has helped her bond better with her children, resulting in a more positive and happier family”.

HENRY Evaluation

Evaluation of the Autumn 2018 programme showed attendance and retention of participants as 100% against a national average of 82%, clearly demonstrating that the Mums valued the programme. The evaluation also tells us that 100% of the Mums would “definitely recommend the programme to others” and there was a 200% increase in number of parents rating their family lifestyle 7 (out of 10) or higher at completion of the course.