A CHARITY supporting breastfeeding women in the county is celebrating after winning a £115,000 boost from the National Lottery.

The money will now be used by Oxfordshire Breastfeeding Support to expand its work supporting local families over the next five years.

The grant is allowing those running OBS to maintain new sessions at Barton Community Association in Oxford, and in Didcot, and to expand into north Oxfordshire.

It will also be able to develop new ways of working with families who find it harder to access feeding help, including those with disabilities.

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The new funding - from the UK’s largest community funder of good causes - was won through a competitive bid process over 17 months.

Oxford Mail:

Juliet Rayment, chairwoman of trustees, said: "We are delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised the work OBS does to nurture the ‘village’ of support for parents in our community.

"Now, thanks to National Lottery players, we will be able to support even more families and work to make sure our support works for everyone who needs it.

"This funding is an incredible boost for our new services, and we will carry on fundraising hard to ensure that we can continue our four existing drop-in sessions and all our other work too”.

Oxford city councillor, Marie Tidball, who herself has a physical disability, became a user of OBS after she gave birth to her baby Sophie.

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She said: "The help I received from OBS was liberating.

"Their essential support increased my confidence and gave me the skills to feed Sophie everywhere: from the city council chamber and the Labour Party Conference, to travelling on an aeroplane.

"The National Lottery funding is a hugely important step towards tailored support for other women with disabilities in Oxfordshire, along with other equality groups."

OBS has been running since 2006 and launched as an independent charity in 2018.

In 2019, over 500 families attended OBS drop-in sessions for feeding support and 1,600 Oxfordshire women are part of the OBS Facebook community.

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OBS welcomes families of all kinds, from all backgrounds, from pregnancy onwards and who feed their babies in all sorts of ways.

Oxford Mail:

The six friendly sessions in Oxford and Didcot run across the week, including Sundays and offer a space for families to meet with others, irrespective of whether they have current feeding issues.

There’s also a monthly antenatal workshop for pregnant women and their partners.

Sessions are specialist-led by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who support both straightforward and complex feeding problems.

Enthusiastic volunteers work alongside, helping with fundraising, breast pump loan and more.

In 2018 the support group hosted a relaunch party in an effort to boost funding.

Oxfordshire Breastfeeding Support, formerly Oxford Baby Cafés Group, invited new and pregnant mothers to enjoy the ‘rebirth’ party at the Donnington Doorstep Family Centre.

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Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds also attended the event for the organisation which began operating as an independent charity.

Oxford Mail:

The group underwent the name change in an effort to improve its financial prospects after council and NHS funding for groups operating under the baby café banner was reduced.

There are weekly drop-in sessions at Didcot Baptist Church on Monday, Grandpont Children's Centre on Tuesday, Barton Neighbourhood Centre on Tuesday, Jericho Health Centre on Wednesday, East Oxford Children's Centre on Thursdays and Donnington Doorstep Family Centre on Sundays.

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If you want to support the work OBS does, you can make a monthly donation - however small or large - at localgiving.org/OBS to support its existing projects.

For more visit oxbreastfeedingsupport.org.