Angry mums will march on Maidstone to protest cuts to breastfeeding services

https://i2-prod.kentlive.news/news/kent-news/article808772.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Breastfeeding.jpg

Angry mums will take to the streets on Wednesday (November 22) in a peaceful protest against planned cuts to breastfeeding support services.

The march has been organised by the Keep Kent Breastfeeding campaign, which was founded by Tannice Hemming, a 32-year-old Maidstone woman who is expecting her second child.

The mum-of-one said: “We want to let them [the council] know we are really unhappy with the lack of change.”

Around 30 mums and breastfeeding experts are expected to take part in the march from Maidstone West train station to Sessions House at 10am, where they will deliver a petition against the proposed cuts to the council.

Mrs Hemming said she found the existing breastfeeding support services vital after the birth of her daughter, Sienna, in February 2016.

The mum and baby pair struggled with many breastfeeding problems – including tongue tie, which went undiagnosed by midwives and health visitors.

Families can currently access breastfeeding support at 40 locations across the county every week – 17 specialist-led clinics and 23 peer support groups – provided by PS Breastfeeding CIC.

However, Kent County Council (KCC) is proposing to absorb the support into the existing health visiting service from January of next year, in order to save £404,000 per year.

‘We’ve been fobbed off’

Tannice Hemming pictured with her daughter Sienna

Tannice Hemming pictured with her daughter Sienna

The proposal was first launched in July of this year, but following pressure from the Keep Kent Breastfeeding and Save Thanet Breastfeeding Services group, the consultation was shelved less than a month later, in August.

Kent County Council relaunched the consultation on October 23, and the Keep Kent Breastfeeding Campaign reacted with “anger, disappointment and surprise”, claiming that very little had changed.

Mrs Hemming said: “I’m simply stunned that after meeting with the council and putting across our concerns, they’ve simply either ignored what we said or just not seen it as a priority for public health.

“We felt like they really listened to us and heard why we were concerned about the proposal. That’s why this new release is so shocking and disappointing. We feel like we’ve been fobbed off.”

Mrs Hemming is encouraging mothers and those who do not want to see these cuts to respond to the council’s community infant feeding support consultation, which ends on December 3. Responses can be submitted via the Kent County Council website.

Kent County Council have been contacted for comment.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply