A unique toddlers group run by The Fed aims to bring together young mums from across the community, with the ambition of integrating help and support for those who need it with a regular play group and social for little ones and their parents.

Meeting each Monday and Wednesday in The Fed’s purpose-built Children’s Centre at Heathlands Village, the Mums ‘n’ Tots group caters for all children up to five years old and acts as a get-together for new parents while the children have fun.

Carol Booth, Play Leader at the Children’s Centre, explains:

“First and foremost, the Mums ‘n’ Tots group is a lovely and loving socially interactive group of mums, grandmas and child-minders who attend with their babies. Many of our mums have said they simply love coming and it can be the highlight of the week.”

However, for some, motherhood presents a host of difficult challenges.

“Some of our attendees live lives of isolation or are struggling on a limited budget. They can find themselves lost for what to do to entertain their children and struggling to meet others in the same circumstances.

“Crucially, our Mums ‘n’ Tots is both a social and knowledge-providing service. If someone is struggling, we are ready to offer support. We respect everyone’s circumstances and greet everyone with open arms and a smile. It’s a place where people can leave their life troubles at the door.

“Where low income means that a family may have no new toys to play with, we are here each week to provide a fun and inviting place to come and spend a few hours; if a mum is showing signs of post-natal depression or is suffering with any other condition the group can be a gateway to the rest of The Fed’s services.

“Above all else, it’s a relaxed and welcoming place for mums and their little ones to come and have some fun! We wanted to provide a social group for the community, where parents – and grandparents – can meet for a few hours, let their children enjoy playtime with others, and relax knowing that everything is taken care of for them.

“We aim to make a difference to the lives of the children and the adults by making the sessions interactive and accessible for all – they can easily be recreated at home if they enjoy what we do with them at The Fed!”

One young mum, living in Salford, describes the group as “…a relaxed environment that my child really enjoys.”

“I first heard about the group through a mums’ Whatsapp group I’m part of,” she says.

“I love going to the Children’s Centre at The Fed – the kids love it and I also really enjoy the social opportunities with the other people.

“The staff are really friendly and so lovely and helpful – there’s always a variety of activities to keep the little ones entertained. I would tell any local mums to come and try it out – it’s a wonderful atmosphere and so nice to chat to others, too!”

The sessions are run by Fed staff and assisted by volunteers, who prepare activities including soft play, arts and crafts, and dressing up – as well as snacks for everyone.

Another regular visitor who attends with her granddaughter loves the warm welcome received every time she attends:

“The staff at The Fed are absolutely wonderful and greet everyone with a smile on their faces. I was looking for somewhere to take my granddaughter and heard about the group from a friend.

“I go each week as I enjoy watching the children play together with the wide variety of toys and activities on offer, and it’s so lovely to chat to other people as well. My granddaughter adores going – and especially enjoys snack time!

“If you are thinking about going, I would definitely recommend it as it provides a friendly, happy, and safe environment for mums and tots.

“Every week is different, and you can safely leave your child to happily play whilst you watch on.”

After a hiatus over the winter, Mums & Tots will restart in early 2022. For more information email advice@thefed.org.uk or call 0161 772 4800.