Luton Central, Leagrave and Stopsley Libraries are currently still open with reduced hours offering:
Book Drop – a handy ‘Book Drop’ bin at the entrance doors so customers do not need to come into the library to return books. The return date for all items borrowed has been automatically renewed. Customers will not be charged overdue fees during lockdown.
Select & Collect. – phone or email the library and choose from; pre-selected bundles, staff choice or specific titles. There is a great selection of books for babies and toddlers, just ask for a pre-selected bundle. How about a selection of Christmas books, nursery rhymes or a title from the new Covid Children’s Booklist; a collection of books to help children stay safe, calm, connected and hopeful during the COVID-19 crisis.
Luton Libraries Online – join online for free access to a fantastic selection of books and resources to keep you amused at home. You’ll find e-books, newspapers, magazines and comics, e-learning courses and streaming services including concerts and films. You can even research your family history with Find My Past and browse the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Home Library Service -The Home Library Service is free to Luton residents who are unable to visit their local library. Books are delivered to your home on a regular basis by a team of dedicated staff and volunteers. For details on how to join this service call: 01582 491428
Children can take part in this year’s Winter Mini Challenge with a free-to-access website featuring rewards and incentives for reading and reviewing books. The Winter Mini Challenge starts on Tuesday 1 December 2020 and ends on Friday 15 January 2021 https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/
*You can also pick up your Bookstart Baby pack from the library. Just contact your local library or the Bookstart Coordinator at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope it’s not too long before we can safely welcome people back into libraries and restart some of our activities including: Knit and Natter, Colour Me Calm, Bookstart rhyme times and story times and library games. In the meantime there’s never been a better time to join the library and access our great range of resources, including online story times and rhyme times, find out more at: https://llc.ent.sirsidynix.net.uk/client/en_GB/luton/e
Total Wellbeing currently offers a range of services to support mums-to-be to achieve a healthy pregnancy and after baby is born.
The Healthy Pregnancy Services provide;
- Free Health Walks for pregnancy and post-natal women (partners welcome too) once per week. This is a chance to walk and talk all things pregnancy and beyond. Walking is good for both our mental and physical health and it’s a great chance to meet other families. The walks are led by our Health Walk Leader and Nutritionist and some weeks a midwife attends to join in on the fun and answer any pregnancy related questions you may have!
Contact Laura today on 07850 938849 to book a space or refer a client. Alternatively, you can email a referral to email@example.com
Women can self refer by texting PREGNANCYTWL to 60066
- A ‘perinatal’ mental health problem is one that you experience any time from becoming pregnant up to a year after you give birth. Having a baby is a big life event. It’s natural to experience a range of emotions during pregnancy and after giving birth. But if any difficult feelings start to have a big effect on day-to-day life, it might be a perinatal mental health problem. Total Wellbeing therapists can support and offer free online, telephone, virtual 1-2-1 sessions and group workshops. Contact the team today to find out more on 0300 555 4152 or refer via our referral form to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Stopping smoking at ANY point during pregnancy is better than not stopping at all. Women can self-refer by texting PREGNANCYTWL SSS to 60066 for support. Free support is also available for family members. You can refer to the service by sending a referral form to email@example.com or contact 0300 555 4152.
- Pregnancy nutrition support can be provided 1-2-1 virtually or via telephone for women who require further healthy pregnancy support in relation to healthy eating. This is provided by a Nutritionist. Contact Laura today on 07850 938849 to arrange or refer a client. Alternatively, you can email a referral to firstname.lastname@example.org
Women can self refer by texting PREGNANCYTWL to 60066
- Facebook group – Women and health professionals can join Total Wellbeing’s private pregnancy Facebook group; https://www.facebook.com/groups/HealthyPregnancyProgramme/ – to keep updated with Pregnancy information and support on offer in Luton.
All of the above services are available for women and families post birth. Their allocated advisor will guide them through this journey and provide them with the most suitable support throughout their time with Total Wellbeing.
Active Luton Pregnancy sessions
Active Luton also provide exercise support for pregnant women and sessions suitable for after birth:
- Active Luton provide pregnancy specific exercise classes delivered by an ante-natal trained instructor. Each session is just £3 and any pregnant woman can attend (must receive clearance from midwife or GP to exercise safely). The must pre-book the session via telephone or online, to book visit: https://www.activeluton.co.uk/me-time/pregnancy-exercise-class (More classes with be launching in January plus Aqua Natal).
- Legs bums and bring your tots fitness classes, you can find these at different centres on the timetable: https://www.activeluton.co.uk/ Please contact the preferred centre to check what is still running during COVID. Sessions must be pre-booked.
- Lane swimming and swimming sessions with children/babies is also available. Take a look here for more information: https://www.activeluton.co.uk/timetables-and-sessions
- You can find online classes that were filmed during lockdown to support at-home exercise during pregnancy. These can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1elABOk9W8U
Like Active Luton’s Facebook page to keep updated with what’s running during COVID: @activeluton
Healthy Start provides young pregnant women and low-income families with children under the age of 4 in England with free vitamins and food vouchers to purchase vegetables, fruit, pulses and cows’ milk. From April 2021 the value of the Healthy Start vouchers will increase from £3.10 to £4.25 per week for families eligible for the scheme.
Retailers are beginning to recognise their role in supporting the scheme, for example, Iceland is offering a free bag of frozen veg to all families using Healthy Start vouchers in their stores. Tesco and various Co-op branches will also add an additional £1 to all healthy start vouchers used in-store across the winter.
Unfortunately the digitalisation of the Healthy Start scheme that was due to launch in October 2020 has been delayed until October 2021. This means that there are still challenges for families with applying for the scheme which still requires a physical form to be posted. This also means the number of stores that the vouchers can be used in is limited; currently there are 45 stores across Luton that accept the vouchers.
Since COVID 19 we have seen an increase in the number of families eligible for the scheme however uptake of the scheme remains low meaning that approximately 1500 families in Luton are missing out on the scheme. Opportunities to promote the scheme through Flying Start children’s centre has reduced and we will be looking for new ways to increase uptake of the Healthy Start scheme, including working with professionals, retailers and community organisations to promote the scheme.
All services working with pregnant women and families with children under 4yrs can help promote the scheme and support families with applications. To order application forms to be sent free visit: https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/for-health-professionals/healthy-start-resources/
Healthy Start Vitamins
Healthy Start Vitamins are available from some Children Centre sites at select times and parents need to call ahead to advise they are coming. To find out where and when vitamins can be collected see the Flying Start Children Centre timetable available here: https://www.flyingstartluton.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Flying-Start-Childrens-Centre-Timetable-NovDec-2020-1.pdf
To find out more about the Healthy Start scheme or to organise a short staff training session on the scheme contact email@example.com
Luton parents are participating in national research into Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities parenting course
Together Research, University College London is working with Flying Start Luton as part of their national research study aiming to assess whether parents who are offered this 13-week group-based parenting programme will feel better in themselves, feel less stressed and generally more able to cope with looking after their families.
For over 10 years, the Race Equality Foundation, a charity working to promote race equality in the UK, has been organising group-based parenting programmes for families particularly from minority ethnic communities and those living in poverty. Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communitieshas had major success in engaging with communities across many parts of the country. Although very popular with the families involved, including courses regularly offered in Luton, the programme had not yet been fully evaluated to show if it is effective in achieving its goals. The Race Equality Foundation, keen to address this gap in knowledge initiated this current study.
Across several urban areas of England, including Luton, where ethnically and socially mixed communities live, the course is being offered to families who either decided themselves that they need help or families referred by professionals. Parents taking part in the study have been randomly allocated to either immediately start the Luton course in January 2021 or to wait for a nine month period before starting it in September 2021.
All the parents agreeing to take part in the study have been interviewed by phone at the start, will be interviewed after the programme has been completed and then 6 months later. A smaller number of parents and staff involved in delivering the programme will be interviewed about their views and experiences of it. This is a great opportunity for the voice of Luton parents to contribute to this important national research.
We are still recruiting parents for the courses. They need to live in Luton and have a child aged between 3 and 16 years of age in the family. Please send any referrals through to FlyingStartParenting@luton.gov.uk.
Since late September 2020, Flying Start facilitators have been offering a virtual version of the four week Family Links Parenting Puzzle course. An additional welcome week has helped to ensure parents have the chance to get onto the Zoom platform and test it out before starting the course the following week. Generally, engagement has been good. Dads have also been attending and fed back that they prefer this way of taking part. We have a waiting list of parents and will be offering at least two more courses – one starting Tuesday 12 January and another Thursday 25 February 2021. Parents can self-refer or you can email FlyingStartParenting@luton.gov.uk to refer a parent. More course dates may be added depending on demand.
The FREE online courses by Solihull Approach continue to see new parents registering each month via www.inourplace.co.uk using the access code HATTERS and their Luton postcode. A new addition to the suite of courses is aimed at teenagers themselves “Understanding Your Brain (for teenagers only)” which compliments the course for parents “Understanding Your Teenager’s Brain”. This together with the antenatal, postnatal and Understanding Your Child programmes means parents can be supported throughout the parenting journey.
Details of other Flying Start online sessions available for families can be found by checking the Flying Start website and social media pages. The creativity and adaptability of Flying Start staff means parents can still access a wide range of support even in these times of change.