Gateshead and Sunderland parenting programmes win national industry award

Posted on: Thursday 18 Jul 2019

Two Gateshead and Sunderland parenting programmes – the only ones of their kind in the north of England – have won a national industry award for the work they do to support young and disadvantaged first-time mums.

Both Gateshead and Sunderland family nurse partnerships (FNPs) have been awarded a MacQueen Award in the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) Education and Development Trust’s MacQueen Anniversary Awards. The MacQueen awards are designed to support practice development across all aspects of public health undertaken by members of the CPHVA. The purpose of the awards is to celebrate excellent public health practice that members of CPHVA deliver.

The family nurse partnerships, the only ones of their kind in the north of England, are a voluntary parenting programme offering extra guidance to first-time young parents, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are under 20 in Sunderland and under 24 in Gateshead. The family nurses try to enrol young mothers onto the programme by the time they reach 16 weeks gestation, and continue working with them until the child reaches two years of age. The services offer support and guidance to expectant mums from 16-weeks before birth through to two years of age.

The services involve one nurse working with each mother over two-and-a-half years, visiting them weekly or fortnightly and bringing much needed stability and trust to young first-time parents, who can often be vulnerable. It aims to improve antenatal health, child health outcomes and young parents’ economic self-sufficiency through support, guidance and regular visits. The family nurse partnerships are part of the Growing Healthy Gateshead and Growing Healthy Sunderland 0-19 children’s services, provided by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust.

The team were nominated for the award by Sandra Scott, a colleague and Health Visitor with Growing Healthy Sunderland, who wanted to highlight the difference that the FNP services are making within local communities in the North East.

The services regularly receive positive feedback from mums, who value the direct contact and stability a single nurse throughout the two-and-a-half year period brings, and the teams work closely with other agencies to improve health outcomes for the mums and their children. Although the services are separate, colleagues maintain good links with each other and share learning across both teams.

Family Nurses, receive special training over a 16 month period, including advanced communication skills and the physiology of the teenage brain, as well as ongoing specialist training and regular skills practice within their teams, which focuses on increasing knowledge and understanding with an emphasis on developing practical skills.

Caroline Scott, Family Nurse Supervisor for the Gateshead Family Nurse Partnership, said: “We are so pleased to have won a MacQueen Award, and we’d like to thank the CPHVA for recognising the work that we do and colleagues for nominating us for the award.

“The successes of our programmes in achieving positive outcomes for young parents and their children are down to the skilled work that the nurses do engaging young people and building trusting relationships that supports them to be able to make positive behaviour changes for themselves and be the best parent they can be.

Anne Duggan, Family Nurse Supervisor for the Sunderland Family Nurse Partnership, said: “This achievement is testament to the very challenging but rewarding work our staff do. We see day-in-day-out how committed they are to the young people we support and how they always go the extra mile for our mums and their children.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating our award when it is presented to us later on this year.”

The joint award for both teams will be presented at the Unite-CPHVA Annual Professional Conference 2019 in Harrogate on 16 and 17 October 2019.


Pictured: Staff in the Growing Healthy Gateshead Family Nurse Partnership (top) and members of staff from the Growing Healthy Sunderland Family Nurse Partnership (bottom).

For further information please contact:

Jamie Wright, Communications and Marketing Assistant, [email protected] and 01423 557732.