Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust’s Health and Wellbeing Service were presented with a prestigious award in recognition of its innovative promotion of public health.
Staff members representing the Service accepted the award at an event in London for developing a project that saw pregnant women and new mothers design and create a sculpture.The Royal Society for Public Health Awards, which are now in their seventh year, recognise organisations that have demonstrated innovation, good practice and significant achievement in health promotion activities in their community or workplace.
The winning project, called Air To Breathe, featured local mums-to-be to, their partners and community artists working together to produce a sculpture outside Wythenshawe maternity unit. The sculpture was inspired by a baby’s need for oxygen to grow and develop properly during pregnancy.
Abbie Paton, Senior Public Health Development Advisor for the Service was delighted with the recognition: “Receiving this award could not have been possible without the involvement of the young mums themselves, who helped create such a beautiful, long-lasting piece of artwork. We’re delighted that the RSPH has recognised the Service for our levels of inclusion and engagement with local people.”
During workshops the group were asked to look at their own baby scan photos and create wire sculptures of their own. The artists then reflected these in the final design - welding together the shapes for the central part to become an abstract foetus inside an abstract protective womb. Air blows through the whole sculpture underlining foetuses’ need for oxygen. Along with the sculpture, there is a photographic record on permanent display mounted on the walls inside the maternity entrances showing the process of producing the sculpture from workshops through to final installation.
The project was funded by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and accommodated by University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.
Nigel Wilson Group Chief Executive from Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG) said: “We are delighted to be involved with this partnership with the Stop Smoking Service and UHSM to promote Smoke Free pregnancies. As the main social housing provider in Wythenshawe we are very committed to tackling the health issues our community face and help in whatever way to improve the life chances of everyone in Wythenshawe.”
Over the last year in Manchester, smoking rates at time of delivery went down to 12.5%. Good news for women and their babies, who are more likely to be born at full term, of healthy weight and well – benefits that last a lifetime.
For more information on smokefree pregnancy or support to quit smoking call 0161 205 5998 or visit www.stopsmokingmanchester.co.uk.