Health Visiting service celebrates Unicef gold award

Health Visiting Gold BFI awardOur Health Visiting service was recently awarded gold status by the Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) for the care it provides to pregnant women, mothers and families in Leeds.

Accreditation is based on a set of evidence-based standards for maternity, health visiting, neonatal and children’s centres services and assessors highly commended the service for the quality of its evidence, its highly knowledgeable and skilled staff and culture of kindness.

The gold award was made in August and, on Thursday 25 October, a special celebration event was held at Leeds Civic Hall.

Health Visiting staff from teams across the city were presented with gold certificates and badges while a gold-ribboned cake was cut at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Executive Director of Operations Sam Prince opened the event, saying: “An important part of the Baby Friendly Initiative is a culture of kindness –  to mums and families, but to staff as well.

“Unicef recognised staff feel valued and listened to. I want to say a massive thank you to our Health Visiting teams; You have won this award.”

There was also a message played to the audience from Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) Deputy Programme Director Anne Woods who said: "Leeds Community Healthcare has a very strong history and we have always found the processes, practices and staff education have resulted in excellent outcomes for babies, mothers and families in Leeds.

Unicef baby friendly initiative

"Achieving sustainability standards consider how a service progresses. Leeds Community Healthcare was assessed in May against these standards - one of our very first Health Visiting Services to undertake the assessment.

"They put together a robust and well thought through application that resulted in Leeds Community Healthcare becoming only the second service in England to achieve this prestigious award.

"We look forward to seeing how the service continues to progress over the years."

The award has been brought about thanks to partnership working in the city with commissioners at Leeds City Council Children's Centres and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust stretching back to 2006.

Sally Goodwin-Mills, Advanced Health Improvement Specialist –  Infant Feeding (Public Health), said: "It feels really special to be standing here talking about this. It has been a long journey but a fantastic one."

Baby Friendly cake cutting

(l-r) Alison Ellis, Health Visiting Clinical Team Manager, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust; Sally Goodwin-Mills, Advanced Health Improvement Specialist – Infant Feeding and Maternity, Leeds City Council; Lynne Waddington, Breastfeeding Peer Supporter, Leeds Bosom Buddies.

Congratulations to everyone involved in helping us achieve this award! See more images from the day below.