RCM comment on birth of Royal baby


Commenting on the birth of a baby boy to the Duchess of Cambridge today,  Gill Walton, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “On behalf of the Royal College of Midwives I offer our warmest and heartfelt congratulations to the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their baby boy. We wish them the best of health and happiness in the future.


“I would also offer our thanks to the midwives and other health professionals who have supported the Duchess and her family through her pregnancy and beyond.”


To contact the RCM Press Office call 020 7312 3456 or email pressofficer@rcm.org.uk.

Efforts to improve public health must come from many directions says RCM on new Lancet Series

Today The Lancet has published a New Series that calls for greater awareness of preconception health and improved guidance, with greater focus on diet and nutrition. It says that parents’ diets and health can have profound implications for the growth, development, and long-term health of their children before their conception.

Commenting on the Series, Clare Livingstone, Professional Policy Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said: “The RCM has long stressed the importance of good health for those planning to have a baby, which will of course have knock-on effects on the general health of our population. We have also argued about the need for increased education in schools about health, including the need to be healthy before becoming pregnant. As this Lancet series stresses, healthier parents lead to healthier children, with those health benefits lasting into adulthood.  


“Efforts must come from many directions including support to reduce smoking levels and alcohol consumption, particularly before and during pregnancy, along with support for people to improve their lifestyle, to eat more healthily and do more exercise. However, some Government actions are working against health improvements such as cuts to stopping smoking services, and we need to see more, not less investment in services such as these.


“Other things can also be done to improve the health of babies including mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid on a UK-wide basis. This would prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida and lead to long-lasting improvements in the health of our population.


“If these changes can be made it will improve the health of our whole population and in the longer term also reduce demand on the NHS. There is a need to invest in public health now which will pay dividends long into the future.”


To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email media@rcm.org.uk

‘Midwives set to celebrate International Day of the Midwife in style’


Members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) including midwives, maternity support workers (MSWs) and student midwives from across the UK are preparing to celebrate International Day of the Midwife (IDM) on May 5th in style.


The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Midwives leading the way with quality care’  and the RCM is supporting RCM branches and midwifery societies to hold events and activities to mark this special global day of midwifery celebration.


In Sheffield up to 90 midwives have planned a ‘Call the midwife’ themed  bike ride and will cycle a four mile route to help raise ten thousand pounds to fund three new birthing pools at the Jessop Wing maternity unit.  To support this event, midwifery students from Sheffield Hallam University have organised a refreshment stop halfway round the route. (Picture attached)


Other IDM activities and events registered so far include everything from Caring For You tea parties to trolley dashes, study days, and a netball and networking event to name just a few


Also, returning again this year is the RCM’s hugely popular competition for members The Great Midwifery Cake Off* which is a chance for any members who have a flair for baking to get creative and bake their own midwifery inspired cake.


If you are an RCM member, RCM branch or student midwifery society and wish to register your event no matter how big or small email idm@rcm.org.uk and avail of all the prepared RCM recourses to help you get planning your event which RCM staff will attend.





Commenting, Denise Linay Head of Organising and Engagement at the RCM says; “Midwives, MSWs and student midwives work tirelessly everyday to deliver safe high quality care to women, their babies and families and International Day of the Midwife gives us a real opportunity to celebrate that.


“Many midwives and MSWs have already registered their IDM events with the RCM and everything from tea parties to call the midwife themed bike rides have been organised. So if you are planning to celebrate IDM, there is still plenty of time to get in touch and tell what your branch is planning to do. All events no matter how large or small will be supported in someway by the RCM.


“Some of our members on IDM will reunite with the women they cared for along with the babies they delivered and given that this year’s theme focuses on quality of care I think that these type of events no matter how large or small are very fitting.


“The RCM has also created a really useful resource pack that is available on our website which will help you to get started on planning your event.”


For more information and support on how to get organising your RCM  2018 IDM event or celebration click here: https://www.rcm.org.uk/international-day-of-the-midwife-2018



‘Calling all midwives and MSW’s to celebrate International Day of The Midwife 2018’ https://www.rcm.org.uk/news-views-and-analysis/news/%E2%80%98calling-all-midwives-and-msw%E2%80%99s-to-celebrate-international-day-of-the


*Full details on The Great Midwifery Cake Off competition 2018 are available here: https://www.rcm.org.uk/the-great-midwifery-cake-off-competition-2018



*Photograph attached*  L-R: Alison Elsworth (Matron Community), Marcia Gill ( Matron Labour Ward), Carolyn Clarke, Sarah Davies, Amanda Muller, Alison Carey, Vicky Lee, Janette Pembleton, Bev Woodhead, Steph Cross, Donna Blackwell, Leanne Rutowski and Adele Stanley (all midwives).


Photograph taken outside the Jessop Wing Sheffield Hospitals

‘Applications to midwifery courses down by over one third - having fallen steadily every year since 2013 says RCM’


There has been a 35 percent (35%) drop in the number of applicants to midwifery courses since 2013, that’s according to the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) who have analysed the latest UCAS data on applications to midwifery courses in England.


The number of students applying to midwifery courses in England has fallen steadily every year since 2013 which has resulted in a total of 35 percent fewer applicants for midwifery courses than there were in 2013.


The biggest drop in the number midwifery applicants since 2013 has come from those aged 21 or over. In 2013, over 12,000 people aged over 21 applied for a midwifery course in England.  By 2017 that figures was only 6,700, a decrease of 45 percent (45%)


Commenting, Gabrielle Bourke Professional Policy Advisor at The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said; “We are not entirely surprised by these figures as the RCM has previously raised concerns about how less attractive midwifery as a profession was becoming particularly since the midwifery bursary was abolished and tuition fees were introduced in August 2017.

“This coupled with already younger midwives leaving the profession due to workforce pressures such as understaffing causing burnout in addition to seven years of NHS pay restraint have certainly been factors that have deterred students from applying for midwifery courses in England.

“It’s disappointing to see the drop in applications from those aged 21 and older. We know that many of those who have previously chosen careers in midwifery have been older students, often women with children inspired by the care they received while pregnant choosing to become midwife. Also, currently a large proportion of the midwifery student  base hold other degrees or educational qualifications relevant to healthcare and these are the type of people the NHS so badly needs and we should be doing everything we can to attract and retain the brightest and best students to midwifery.


“The RCM welcomes the recent announcement by the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt to increase the number of NHS midwives by training more than 3000 midwives over the next four years and we look forward to working/supporting the Government to make this announcement a reality of more midwives working in England. At present in England we remain 3,500 midwives short of what is needed to deliver safe, high quality care to women and their families, but for now we need urgent measures to ensure that we will have enough students willing to become midwives so this vision can be achieved.”

Government’s more midwives plans welcomed
but needs investment and time to make work says RCM

Today (Sunday, 25th March 2018) the Government has announced a range of measures for England’s maternity services. These include:

·         An increase in NHS midwives and maternity support staff, with a plan to train more than 3000 extra midwives over 4 years, starting with 650 more midwives in training next year

·         A new defined maternity support worker role and introducing new training routes into midwifery

·         The majority of women receiving care from the same midwives throughout their pregnancy, labour and birth by 2021.


Commenting on the announcement, Gill Walton, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said: “This is very long overdue acknowledgement by the Government that England’s maternity services need more midwives. The RCM has been campaigning to get successive governments to eradicate the midwife shortage for well over a decade. This is recognition that this Government have been listening to us.


“This announcement must be welcomed. It will come as some relief to NHS midwives who have been working incredibly hard, for many years, with increasing demands and inadequate resources.


“This is the start of a journey that will enable midwives to begin moving to more innovative ways of caring for women. It is also a positive step towards safer services. 


“The commitment to more continuity of care is good news because the evidence is clear this is the best way to provide the safest and highest quality care for women and their babies. The priority for all maternity services is ensuring every woman has a named midwife during pregnancy and one-to-one care in labour. This is what maternity services are currently struggling to provide universally and consistently and this is why the new staff will be so crucial.  When services are confident of this then they can move on to greater continuity of care for women.


“Whilst we welcome the commitment to continuity of care, it is ambitious. The additional midwives who start training next year won't be qualified midwives working in our maternity services until 2022. That will make a difference and it will begin to have an impact on the workload of midwives, but it will not transform maternity services right now. It will take seven or eight years before all of the new midwives announced today will be actually working in our maternity services. This will be offset to some extent by the extra maternity support workers (MSW) promised. This will help make the staffing overall feel better, though we need to see details about how many more MSWs there will be.


“Simply training more midwives is only half of the problem. The other key issue is ensuring that when these midwives qualify they actually get jobs in the NHS. We must get a commitment from the Government and trusts to employ them. Trusts are going to need an increase in the money they get so they can employ the new midwives.


“The recognition of the importance of maternity support workers and the commitment to invest in their training is also very good news.  Again this is something the RCM has been fighting for and working towards for many years.


“We applaud the announcement but would urge some patience. Until these midwives and maternity support workers are actually working maternity services will continue struggling to provide existing care where the focus is rightly safety first. 


“Midwives everywhere can now be confident that the Government is serious about supporting maternity care. If these midwives are trained in the numbers announced. And, if they get real jobs in our NHS then there's every reason to believe we’ll see the transformation of England’s maternity services in the coming years. We look forward to working with the Government to make this very, very welcome commitment a reality.


“The agreement on pay reached this week between the health unions and the Government will also help to support this announcement. It will help our maternity services to retain the midwives they have and it will aid the recruitment of more into the profession. “



To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email media@rcm.org.uk

Chair of the Maternity Transformation Programme says not enough midwives

Yesterday (22nd March) Sarah-Jane Marsh, chair of the Maternity Transformation Programme, NHS England, speaking at the Westminster Health Forum Keynote Seminar in London, said; ‘We simply do not have enough midwives for the job we are trying to do.'

She also said: 'I don't think we've got sufficient midwives, I don't think we've trained enough midwives. We've made that point and I think that it's been accepted, and now we need to work through how we do those increases.'

Commenting Suzanne Tyler, Director for Services to Members at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said: “I am really pleased that the shortage of midwives has now officially been recognised and at such a senior level.  Every day maternity units up and down the country are struggling to maintain safe and high quality services for women. Their aspirations to be even better are seriously curtailed by the lack of staff. 


“That maternity units remain safe is down to the hard work of midwives and maternity support workers many regularly working long beyond their shift.  I am pleased that the voices of midwives and women about the need to increase staffing have been heard.


“The RCM looks forward to more news about how this shortage is going to be addressed.  We are totally supportive of Better Births and are relieved that our calls for the right number of staff to do the job have been heard.”


The speech was reported on the RCM website news section at https://www.rcm.org.uk/news-views-and-analysis/news/more-midwives-needed-for-better-births.


To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email media@rcm.org.uk

Royal College of Midwives comment on NHS pay agreement

‘real about turn from recent years of pay stagnation’ says RCM

Today the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the other health unions have agreed in principal a three year pay package with the Government for NHS staff. This includes midwives and maternity support workers on the NHS Agenda for Change (AfC) pay structure.*

Commenting on the announcement Jon Skewes, the RCM’s lead negotiator, said: “This pay deal is the best that has been achieved for any public sector workers, and one that completely breaks the Government’s pay policy of recent years. It is a real achievement and one that we and the other unions have fought hard to get for our dedicated and hardworking members.


“We have been campaigning for fair pay overdue and this deal is a very good step in the right direction. It is the start of really valuing the contribution of NHS staff.  It is also good for recruitment and retention of midwives and maternity support workers, given the chronic current shortages in maternity services.


“This is a real about turn from recent years of pay stagnation and pay freezes particularly given the current economic climate. It is a deal that I encourage our members to accept.”


The deal means many staff will see overall pay increases of 9% to 29% over three years.  Pay for those already on the top point of each pay bands will see their pay rise by at least 6.5% over three years. As an example percentage increases for those below the top point of AfC band 6 range from 24.89% at the bottom of the band to 11.78% at the existing penultimate point after 3 years. This is the band comprising the greatest number of midwives.

There will also be quicker progression through the pay bands as these have been shortened, and NHS workers will now reach the full rate for the job quicker.  Overlaps between pay bands have also been removed resulting in much better starting salaries on each band.

Also, no holidays will be lost by any staff as part of this agreement. The RCM along with the other unions also resisted any undermining of the value of unsocial hours payments.  This is important to midwives providing a 24 hour, 365 day service where a third of take home earnings may come from unsocial hours enhancements. Crucially this agreement will also be fully funded by the Government and not come out of existing NHS funding.


The RCM is also pleased to see the Government recognise the need to care for NHS staff with a commitment to improve productivity through greater emphasis on staff health and wellbeing. This is a reflection of the aims of the RCM Caring for You campaign, running since 2016.


The RCM will now be consulting its members on the agreement with the results of that consultation expected at the end of May.  The member elected RCM Board backs this pay deal and recommends that RCM members accept it.


Information on the pay agreement can be read at https://www.nhspay.org/.


To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email media@rcm.org.uk


‘RCM responds to infant mortality report released today by ONS’



Commenting, Gill Walton Chief Executive at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said; “Any increase is a real concern and we must see more steps taken to reverse this.


“The regional variations in rates are worrying. Trusts and regions must look to other areas where there are improvements being made to see why they are not doing as well, and to learn from those areas so that the regional variations are lessened.


“There is no doubt that in areas of high depravation, infant death rates are higher and this is where services need targeted resource.


“There is also a need to tackle some of the biggest factors influencing this including smoking in pregnancy and rising levels of obesity, both of which can have an impact on infant mortality.


“Whilst we cannot make a direct connection between staffing levels, pressures on our maternity systems and infant mortality rates, there is no doubt that an overworked and under-resourced services cannot deliver the safest and highest quality care.”



Read full ONS report: Child mortality in England and Wales - 2016 here:


For further information please contact the RCM Media Relations Team on 020 7312 3456 or email media@rcm.org.uk

RCM comments on reports on NHS pay negotiations


There are reports in the media today about a possible pay deal for NHS staff.  Commenting on this, Jon Skewes, Director for Employment Relations and Communications at the Royal College of Midwives, said “The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and other health unions are in these pay negotiations, and working hard to get a good deal for our members and for our NHS.


“There is a possible agreement on pay in sight and when that has been agreed we will be consulting our members for their views.


“This article is unfortunate because it puts out an incomplete and unfinalised picture of what is being discussed and where we are in these negotiations with the Government.  It does not help to speculate on rumour and whispers in corridors.


“It is important now that the RCM, our colleagues in the other health unions, and the Government focus on settling this pay deal, and when we know what the full and final offer is, take that to our members in the NHS. I hope that we can all make that announcement soon.”


To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email media@rcm.org.uk

‘Maternity team from Whipps Cross named Lansinoh maternity team of the year’


Midwives from a specialist team at Whipps Cross University Hospital in London are celebrating having been named the ‘Lansinoh maternity team of the year’ at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Midwifery Awards 2018.


The Ruby Specialist team provide bespoke services for some of the most vulnerable pregnant women across the boroughs of Waltham Forest and Redbridge in London.


The winning maternity team where presented with their accolade by Good Morning Britain presenter Charlotte Hawkins at an awards ceremony held in London earlier this week (Tuesday March 6th).


The maternity team caseloads vulnerable pregnant women booked for maternity care at Whipps Cross University Hospital and aims to empower and support women throughout their maternity journey and into parenthood. They also liaise with other multi agency professionals to ensure that families are supported and have positive outcomes.


Pregnant women can also directly ‘self-refer’ themselves to this service and the model of care used by the Ruby Specialist team has shown to be effective in reducing cases escalating to legal interventions by children’s social care.


The Ruby team have made a positive impact in the community where women who have received specialist care and support during their pregnancy now refer and recommend family members and friends to the service who need it.


Commenting, Gill Walton Chief Executive and General Secretary at the RCM said; “I wish to congratulate each and every member of the Ruby Specialist maternity team at Whipps Cross University Hospital. They provide care and support to some of the most vulnerable pregnant women in two of the largest boroughs in London and the work they do deserves to be recognised. Vulnerable pregnant women and those who do not have English as their first language are often hard to reach and sometimes don’t present to maternity services until late into their pregnancy. The work that the midwives at Whipps Cross have done in ensuring that women have access to support in the early stages of pregnancy is so important and truly deserves to be recognised.”



Commenting Sasha H Singh, EU Professional Marketing Manager at

Lansinoh Laboratories said; “We commend every member of the Ruby Team especially the personalised and dedicated care they give to every pregnant woman.  Their commitment especially towards working multi-agency professionals ensures vulnerable women are secure, safe and treated with dignity and respect.


They are a shining example when you work together, amazing results can be achieved and have an even bigger impact on the community itself. On behalf of Lansinoh, we wish them sincere congratulations for their passion, empathy and exceptional good work to empower women and their families throughout their pregnancy journey and beyond.”


Deborah Goldsmith, Head of Midwifery and Gynaecology at Whipps Cross University Hospital, said: “We are delighted that the Ruby team have won this prestigious award. Our Midwives work extremely hard to give expectant mothers safe and compassionate care and for our efforts to be recognised is wonderful.  It can be difficult to encourage women in vulnerable circumstances to access much-needed care, and we hope this national recognition will give more local women the confidence to use our maternity services.”


*Picture attached from L-R: Deborah Goldsmith, Head of Midwifery and Gynaecology at Whipps Cross University Hospital,The Ruby Specialist team (winners), Gill Walton RCM CEO and TV Presenter Charlotte Hawkins.




More information on the RCM’s Annual Midwifery Awards is available to view here: https://www.rcmawards.com/

On social media use the hashtag #RCMawards #midwiferymoments

For more information on the RCM’s Alliance Partnership Programme click here: https://www.rcm.org.uk/lansinoh-laboratories


For further information please contact the RCM Media Relations Team on 020 7312 3456 or email media@rcm.org.uk





Liverpool’s iconic St George’s Hall has announced details of its second annual magical grotto – and it promises to be even bigger and better for Christmas 2014.  Santa’s Magical Grotto sets the scene for an exciting festive season when it opens each weekend from 15 November to 7 December. It then opens daily between 13 and 23 December.


Visitors will be treated to live character performances along a festive treasure trail which leads to a traditional grotto. Here, they meet Santa Claus who will present them with an early Christmas gift – if they’ve been good!


Fairy-tale character Mister Grimm is joined by goblins, gnomes and yetis to welcome youngsters to the festive wonderland of fun activities. They will explore the Catacombs of St George’s Hall which are filled with eye-popping displays, there they’ll find clues to help solve a puzzle with a reward waiting for them at the end.


Last year’s grotto proved such an unprecedented success, that families queued around the hall to meet Santa – and they were full of praise for the new city grotto at St George’s Hall.  To meet the anticipated demand for 2014, pre-bookable and fast track tickets have been introduced to enhance the overall experience and give families the opportunity to beat the queues and tickets are on sale now.


Pre-bookable slots are at 10am, 10.30am, 11am and 11.30am on the following Saturdays and Sundays – 15 and 16 November, 22 and 23 November, 29 and 30 November, and 6 and 7 December. Then the same times daily between 13 and 23 December.

Fast-track advance tickets are priced at £8 per child, with up to two accompanying adults. The ticket includes grotto entry to meet Father Christmas and gift. The price for additional accompanying adults is £1.50, which can be paid on the door.


The grotto is also open between 12pm and 5pm (last entry 4.30pm) on the same dates. These tickets are priced at £7 (payable on the door), and also include meeting Santa Claus, gift and entry for up to two accompanying adults. Queues are to be expected.


A professional photographer will be on-hand to capture the ultimate festive magical moment – when youngsters meet Santa. Families are also welcome to take their own photographs.


Alan Smith, General Manager at St George’s Hall, said: “St George’s Hall is a Liverpool landmark – so where better to bring your family and enjoy a traditional magical grotto. We were thrilled with the success of our first grotto last year – so there was no question about throwing open our doors again this Christmas. This year, our excited young visitors (and old ones too!), can look forward to live performances from fairy-tale characters and a treasure trail, before meeting Santa Claus. And due to popular demand, we’ve introduced fast track tickets to help enhance the overall visitor experience and ensure everyone has a truly magical time.”



Santa’s Magical Grotto

St George’s Hall, Liverpool. (Entrance via the Heritage Centre)



Saturday & Sunday 15 & 16 November

Saturday & Sunday 22 & 23 November

Saturday & Sunday 29 & 30 November

Saturday & Sunday 6 & 7 December

Daily between 13 and 23 December

Pre-bookable slots available on the above times at:

10am / 10.30am / 11am / 11.30am


Pre-bookable tickets:

£8 per child, up to two accompanying adults go free

Additional accompanying adults £1.50 each, payable on the door


How to book:

Pre-bookable tickets are available from TicketQuarter by telephoning 0844 8000 410 / online at www.ticketquarter.co.uk / or in person at TicketQuarter, Queen Square, Liverpool.


On the door tickets:

£7 per child, up to two accompanying adults go free

Additional accompanying adults £1.50 each, payable on the door

Available from St George’s Hall gift shop on the day, for venue enquiries telephone 0151 225 6903/6909

Midwives to be out in force at TUC march for fair pay


Midwife and maternity support worker members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) will be out in force at the TUC ‘Britain Needs A Pay Rise’ demonstration in London on Saturday, 18th October. The RCM will be there along with tens of thousands of other workers to fight for fair pay.


The RCM’s participation in the march comes in the same week that RCM members took strike action over NHS pay. This was the first strike action in the RCM’s 133 year history. The march will follow four days of further action (Tuesday 14th to Friday, 17th October) where RCM members took their breaks and claimed for any overtime worked.

RCM members are saying enough is enough to the Government’s rejection of the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) recommendation of a 1% pay award for midwives and other NHS staff. They will also be there campaigning for fair pay for all.

Commenting, Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: ”I was overwhelmed by the huge response from our members to industrial action. It shows the depth of feeling on this and the levels of anger and discontent among our members. I really encourage those that can make it to join us on Saturday so that we can show the Government just how strong their feelings are and how much support there is for fair pay.

“For too long our members and their fellow workers have suffered pay freezes with income rapidly falling behind the real cost of living. They are not asking to be paid like bankers, just for a fair reward for the work they do. Enough’s enough and now is the time to take a stand.”


Mushroom Kids Stools, £82.00


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Cake Lingerie Launch Maternity Knicker gift set. 

 A beautiful pack of 4 cotton maternity briefs with cute lace trim. Made from a high quality cotton and cut to sit under the growing belly, these maternity briefs will be favourites during pregnancy, during nursing and beyond.  Perfect gift for a mum to be at Christmas!

Available in 3 different packs; Basics | Fashion | Assorted

 Available in 4 sizes S-XL | RRP pricing - £24.90 | Available for Sale 1st Dec 2014

My Little DaVinci

Display your child’s artwork in My Little Davinci professional frames, and store up to 50 masterpieces. Clear your fridge door from your kids’ finger paintings and frame them beautifully with these front-opening frames.


Frame your children's precious masterpieces

Every proud parent has the same problem: children' s artwork they cherish, and photographs they want to display! Face it, most of us use our fridge as an art gallery, and our computers as our photo albums. The worst part is that we never really get enjoy them. Many of the masterpieces our kids create for us end up lost or damaged, and even the best digital photos never get shared.

To solve this universal problem, Dynamic Frames ® patented several lines of front-opening frames that not only professionally display artwork and photos, but store up to 50 in each slim frame! They are perfect for displaying photos, artwork, certificates, collages, and posters. Create a rotating photo and art gallery in your home for all to see and treasure.


My Little DaVinci costs £29.99 for A4 and £39.99 for A3 from My Little DaVinci



·         94 per cent of children would give away some  presents if it meant another child would have a happier Christmas

·         Over half of children have given up their free time for charity at Christmas

·         Argos, Barnardo’s and Tess Daly launch this year’s annual Toy Exchange from today until 25th November 2014



Children’s Christmas wishes are evolving as today’s kids show awareness of the less fortunate and consider what they could give to a disadvantaged child, according to new research released today.


Rather than seeing other children go without toys in the festive season, the research from Argos and Barnardo’s shows that 94 per cent of children would happily give up some of their Christmas presents, if it meant a disadvantaged child could enjoy a happier Christmas.


And the spirit of Christmas continues with children also sharing their time, the new study revealing that 59 per cent of children spend time during their Christmas break supporting various causes with bake sales, sponsored silences, carol concerts and charitable donations.


And the Christmas belief of giving and receiving can start immediately for children across the UK with the launch of the third annual Argos Toy Exchange with children’s charity Barnardo’s. From today, until 25th November, Argos customers are invited to drop off once-loved toys at Argos or Barnardo’s stores in return for a £5 voucher towards the cost of new toys (minimum £35 spend), to be redeemed at Argos by 24 December. All donated toys are then sold in Barnardo’s retail outlets to raise funds for the charity. 


The scheme aims to raise money for some of the UK’s most disadvantaged children and this year TV presenter and mum of two, Tess Daly has teamed up with the UK’s number one toy retailer* Argos and children’s charity, Barnardo’s, to make this year’s event the most successful yet!


Tess Daly, said: “I’m really excited to be a part of the Argos Toy Exchange this year. It’s an incredibly worthwhile cause and one which can help make Christmas that little bit more special for disadvantaged families across the UK. We want to bring the grand total from the three Toy Exchanges to £2 million, with over 1150 Argos and Barnardo’s stores throughout the country it’s so simple to just pop down to your local branch and get donating!”


And ahead of Christmas, the Toy Exchange is the perfect way to clear out those pre-loved toys and make space whilst supporting a hugely worthwhile cause.


Amy Whidburn, Head of Corporate Responsibility for Argos, said: “As the UK’s number one toy retailer, we know how important it can be having something to open on Christmas morning. Each year Argos’ Toy Exchange raises hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of toy donations. Over the last two years we have generated around £1.25 million worth of toys and this year we want to add to this to hit £2 million over the three years. With the money raised going to help support some of Barnardo’s vital causes such, as early year’s development or vocational skills training, we’re committed to make this the most successful year yet!”


Gerard Cousins, Barnardo's Director of Retail and Trading, said: “After the success of the Toy Exchange over the last two years, it made sense to aim towards the next milestone, to bring the total target to £2 million. We believe that with the support of the UK’s children and their families, we can do it!


“Barnardo’s helps some of the most disadvantaged youngsters in the UK for example; those growing up in poverty, those trying to escape abuse and those living in care. Profits from the toys, when sold will fund this work’.



For more information about the Toy Exchange visit: www.argos.co.uk/toyexchange.


The Parent Agency by David Baddiel


Illustrated by Jim Fields


Published by HarperCollins Children’s on 9 October 2014


Hardback £12.99/ 384pp and also available as an ebook and audio download


Being a parent is one of the most important jobs in the world. So important, in fact, that the decision to be one shouldn’t be left to the parents themselves. But in a world not too far from our own, parents don’t just have kids – instead it’s the kids who get to choose their perfect mum and dad.


The Parent Agency is the first children’s book from author, screen-writer and comedian David Baddiel. It follows the adventures of Barry Bennett, 9 year old whose own parents are so boring that they actually called him Barry. In fact, it is Number 2 on the list of things he blames his parents for, along with 1) ‘being boring’ and 8) ‘not being glamourous or famous’ (which he realises is a bit similar to Number 1, but he’d already started the list when he got to this point).


Then one day Barry makes a fateful wish, and finds himself in a world where kids get to choose their parents, with the help of The Parent Agency. Barry’s quest takes him to the homes of a series of prospective parents, all eager to win his favour. From the posh Lord and Lady Rader-Wellorff to the celebrity couple Vlad Mitt and Morrissina Padada (whom everybody calls Vlassorina), Barry’s quest to find the perfect parents takes him into the homes of some extraordinary characters.


The Parent Agency is a brilliantly funny, gripping and cleverly-orchestrated novel, with more than a dash of magic, from a born storyteller. The author was inspired to write the book following a chat with his own 9-year old son, Ezra. Already a much-acclaimed author of adult novels, published under the HarperCollins 4th Estate imprint, David Baddiel establishes himself with The Parent Agency as a major new voice in children’s fiction, blending the classic fantasy of the likes of The Wizard of OZ with rich and playful use of words from one of the UK’s much-loved comedy voices.


David Baddiel began his career as a writer after graduating from Cambridge with a double first in English literature in 1986. He was a judge for the Guardian First Book Award in 2000 and the Man Booker Prize in 2002. 

For more information contact Four Colman Getty:

Matt.railton@fourcolmangetty.com / 020 3697 4262

Christina.Neou-North@fourcolmangetty.com / 020 3697 4264

UK's top experts to take the stage at The Baby Show Olympia 2014


The Baby Show is returning to its birthplace, Olympia, between 24th – 26th October 2014, and is bringing with it a hugely impressive line-up of experts ready and willing to share their top tips on a range of pregnancy and parenting topics, from sleeping to weaning, breastfeeding, play, exploration and much, much more! Experts include:


·         Professor Robert Winston, pioneer of fertility and women’s health, TV presenter and Chairman of Genesis Research Trust

·         Annabel Karmel MBE, UK’s leading infant nutrition and weaning expert, author of 38 books

·         Dr Ellie Cannon, GP specialising in family health, resident GP for Mail on Sunday

·         Zita West, fertility and pregnancy consultant

·         Mandy Gurney, founder of Millpond Children’s Sleep Clinic

·         Clare Byam-Cook, breastfeeding expert

·         Gill Rapley, baby-led parenting and baby-led weaning expert

·         Jo Tantum, sleep, routines and twins specialist

·         Lisa Clegg,  author of The Blissful Baby Expert

·         Emily Williamson, carrying consultant, Founder of South London Sling Library

·         Tracey Taylor, British Red Cross paediatric first aid specialist

·         Michelle Heaton, singer, TV Personality and pregnancy fitness expert

·         Dr. Julie Coultas, social psychologist and expert in developmental play

·         Dr. Robert Titzer, early language development expert


NEW to The Baby Show Olympia 2014, is the Vermilion Parenting Experts Corner and the Campbell Books Activity & Reading Zone.

Vermilion Parenting Experts Corner invites visitors to meet top parenting authors from one of the UK’s leading pregnancy and parenting book publishers. A hub of expertise and friendly faces, new and expectant parents can find reassurance and answers from those in the know.

Campbell Books Activity & Reading Zone is the perfect place to keep little ones entertained. There are fun sessions taking place throughout the day including nursery rhymes, storytelling, drawing and dance. Highlights include ‘All aboard the London bus’, ‘Nursery Rhymes with Campbell’ and ‘Drawing with Ella’, Campbell books designer.

For further information please visit


Introducing Graco’s most versatile stroller yet – the Ready2Grow boasts twelve different riding options, and literally grows with your children.


Catering for parents who need flexibility for their growing family, Ready2Grow comfortably carries two children, whatever stage of development they are at, with its impressive twelve different riding options.


Suitable from birth when used with a Graco Junior Baby 0+ car seat, Ready2Grow can be combined with two infant car seats for newborn twins, or used with one car seat for a newborn baby and an older child. There’s also an in built standing platform and bench seat that toddlers and older children will love.


With such a variety of options, the Ready2Grow aims to prevent those inevitable moments when children get tired of walking and are begging to be carried; even the fussiest and fidgety of all toddlers will be a fan of this new mode of travel.


The front and rear seat come with a five point harness making it suitable from 6 months to approximately 3 years (0-15kg).  The Face Time™ rear seat allows for increased interaction and is also removable for access to the bench seat and standing platform.


A combination of versatility, convenience and functionality, the Ready2Grow has been created to help support parents and make the everyday that little bit easier.


Graco Ready2Grow RRP: £299.99

Available exclusively from Babies R Us


  • Suitable from birth when using Graco Junior Baby 0+ car seat, with an option to fit two of these
  • Front and rear seat with 5 point harness from 6 months to approx. 3 yrs (0-15kg)
  • Front seat with multi-position recline
  • Padded bench seat with 3 point harness and standing platform for your older child from 15kg (3yrs) to 20kg
  • Convenient one hand fold
  • Free standing when folded
  • All round spring suspension
  • Removable child tray and parent tray with pivoting cup holder
  • Easy accessible large shopping basket
  • Raincover included



For more information on Graco products, visit www.graco.co.uk orwww.facebook.com/gracobaby

THE most luxury baby carriage, the stunning Silver Cross Surf Aston Martin Edition (Second Edition), launches exclusively at Harrods (www.harrods.com) TODAY (1st October). It is exclusive to Harrods with an edition of just 600, each one individually numbered, for each purchase. 

A collaboration of two iconic British brands, Silver Cross and Aston Martin, with a focus on design, engineering, craftsmanship and luxury, this pram is simply the best of British. It takes weeks of time and effort from expert craftsmen to hand-build each one ensuring perfect execution.  


The pram retails at £3,000 (including the Sheepskin Seat Liner and Cashmere Baby Blanket). The waiting list for this most luxurious pram opens exclusively at Harrods.com today.  


The design, engineering, craftsmanship and luxury used for the pram is as you would expect to find in an Aston Martin car.  Just some of the features you will find on the pram are below:

  • Aston Martin & Silver Cross designers worked closely together on the design collaboration
  • The hardwearing Alcantara suede used on the exterior pram unit and seat is the same as used on the roofs of Aston Martin cars 
  • The stunning pearlescent 'Morning Frost' white paint finish on the chassis is a colour choice available on an Aston Martin
  • The pram's exclusive Aston Martin designed alloy wheels are inspired by the wheel design of the Aston Martin 177
  • The strong magnesium alloy chassis boasts air ride suspension to guarantee a smooth ride
  • The pram also comes with luxurious accessories; the softest and most premium white Sheepskin Seat Liner, hand finished in Devon, England; a 100% cashmere baby blanket hand woven in Yorkshire, England, providing elegance and luxury every step of the way.

Last year, the much anticipated limited First Edition of 600 sold out globally. 

Scribble, sketch, colour and doodle central London’s newest district
Nine Elms on the South Bank welcomes The Big Draw

[London: 30 September 2014] Big changes are taking place throughout Nine Elms on the South Bank, and what better way to be a part of capturing that change than by getting involved in the area’s 2014 Big Draw programme. From 1 October to 2 November, 280,000 people are expected to join in over 1,000+ drawing activities nationwide as part of The Big Draw 2014 and Nine Elms have a huge programme of events this year. Most of the events are free and for all ages - for those who love to draw, as well as for those who think they can't!


As part of The Big Draw last year, Nine Elms invited the public to sketch the early stages of the regeneration from the 20th floor of Market Towers - a site now under demolition, with construction on Wanda One (UK)’s One Nine Elms set to begin early next year.


One year on the regeneration is picking up pace, with 14 schemes currently on site for the £15 billion opportunity area between Lambeth Bridge and Chelsea Bridge. This year’s Big Draw events will take place a little closer to the ground, with a wide-ranging programme offering creative drawing experiences across the area, helping Londoners to get better acquainted with central London’s newest district.


Programme highlights include:

·         A do-it-yourself Mad Hatter tea party with artist and illustrator Jenni Desmond at local cultural institution The Tea House Theatre, 22October, 5pm-7.30pm (Ages 10+)

·         A giant dollhouse workshop at The Doodle Bar in Battersea, where the audience can build (or doodle) their own dream Nine Elms home - BYO shoebox! - 18 October 10am-12pm & 2-4pm (For all ages)

·         A series of comic art workshops with acclaimed illustrator Daniel Locke at Space Station Sixty-Five: using a short piece of newspaper text as their starting point, participants will learn how to create comic art that considers composition, expressive colour use and pacing - 18 October, 2pm (Ages 16+)


·         A unique opportunity to make your mark on the walls, up the stairs and even on the landing of artist Pam Williams’ studio through the creation of 6x4 ft. puzzles - 4& 5 October, 10am-5pm (For all ages)


·         Scribble, sketch, colour, paint and weave along the Thames riverbank on Nine Elms Lane with The Brick Box – expect light graffiti, colourful performances, storytelling and more - 25 & 26 October, 12pm to 10pm (For all ages)


·         A Muddy Squelchy Big Draw at the Garden Museum, using clay to draw and create a garden within the museum. The garden will ‘grow’ each day as more visitors contribute in clay – 27–31 October (For all ages)


·         Kids can create a menagerie of their own at Vauxhall City Farm with author and illustrator of ‘The Zebra Who Ran Too Fast’ Jenni Desmond, all materials provided – 30 October, 1-4pm (Ages 4-7)


For information on Big Draw in and around Nine Elms on the South Bank please visit:  www.nineelmslondon.com/bigdraw

Helen Fisher, Programme Director, Nine Elms on the South Bank said: “I am thrilled to be welcoming The Big Draw back to Nine Elms; it is great to see so many of the area’s institutions and organisations getting involved. I look forward to seeing families and communities from across London come together to explore Nine Elms on the South Bank and get better acquainted with the changes that are taking place.”


Sue Grayson Ford, the Campaign for Drawing Director, said: “I am delighted to see Nine Elms on the South Bank playing such a big part in The Big Draw 2014. Drawing helps us to understand the world in which we live, and what better way to get to know the changes underway in this rapidly transforming part of London than through this fantastic array of creative activities for all ages!”s


The global store was founded in the hope of making shopping fun and easy for modern day parents, who understand and appreciate the value of sophisticated and attractive children’s clothing.


Little Concept strive to offer a unparalleled selection of childrenswear, whilst also bringing together well established, up-and-coming designers from around the world. Exclusive brands such as Caramel Baby & Child, OEUF, Mini Rodini, Petit Bateau and many more are all available on the site.


If you’re looking for a global fashion destination for kids, make sure to visit Little Concept at www.littleconcept.com for the best brands that have been handpicked from across the world!

Designer of the Year Gemma Collins Unveils Occasionwear for 2014


Designer of the year and reality star, Gemma Collins, has unveiled a sneak peak at her Gemma Collins’ Collection Occasionwear, ahead of the events season in 2014.

Offering delicate detailing and an elegant, classic colour palette, the stunning curve-skimming collection features dresses in all shapes and styles, perfect for every event this 2014.


Speaking about the collection, Gemma said;

“With a new year on the horizon, diaries are filling up with fun dates for 2014. Everyone will have a special family christening, best friend’s wedding or garden party to attend this coming year and I’m determined to make every bigger girl out there feel just as special as the occasion. I’m so excited to offer a glimpse at my occasionwear line for 2014. I’ve toned down the glitz and bling and gone for a sharp, sophisticated yet flirty look. There are delicate swing dresses to skim over those curves, elegant off the shoulder numbers and vintage lace for ladies that love a classic look. My occasionwear line fits the bill for every date this 2014, while allowing us plus-size and proud girls a variety of gorgeous choices.”

Since its launch in July 2012, Gemma Collins’ Collection has stolen the hearts of the nation. Using her knowledge and experience of the niche plus-size market having struggled for years to find stylish clothing for girls with curves, Gemma has hit the jackpot with her Occasionwear 2014 from Gemma Collins’ Collection. From classic, waist-cinching LBDs to curve-skimming shift dresses speckled with sparkle, Gemma Collins’ Occasionwear 2014 offers something for every lady from size 14 upwards.

Nearly half of parents buy pre-loved presents this Christmas

Over 40% of parents are buying ‘‘pre-loved’ gifts for their children this year


Bournemouth, UK – 16th December 2013: Milton, the leading expert in sterilising, today reveals the results of a new consumer poll looking at parents’ Christmas shopping behaviour. The research revealed that nearly half of mums and dads will be buying ‘pre-owned’ presents for their children this Christmas.


The study also showed that nearly 30% of parents will be buying pre-loved items for at least a quarter of their Christmas shopping, with 10% of parents buying pre-loved gifts for half of their presents.


This new-found enthusiasm for buying gifts from charity shops, flea markets, and sites such as eBay and Freecycle could be due to a combination of factors: a growing desire to get vintage gifts, to recycle more and waste less, and of course to reduce the cost of Christmas without compromising on quality. This all comes at a time when the cost of living is squeezing household budgets.


Tess Clarke, Commercial and Marketing Manager at Milton commented: “We were interested to know what and how people were planning to buy over Christmas this year as we’ve had parents ask us about using our products to clean toys and other items around the home.


“So, we created a customer poll to find out.  It seems clear, from our results, that lots of parents are considering pre-loved presents this year. Perhaps the stigma of buying ‘second-hand’ is lifting as people look for ways to get the quality gifts they want for less money as you can on many of the popular auction and selling websites.


“With the increase in the cost of living, and the recent announcement from the charity Money Advice Trust which has seen a massive increase in calls about rent arrears since 2013, it’s clear that some families are struggling to balance their bills. Christmas is a time of added expense so simple measures like buying pre-loved gifts can cut the costs and can help to ease the burden without compromising on quality. A quick wipe over with anti-bacterial wipes like Milton can help clean plastic or wooden toys and give parents peace of mind that they are hygienically clean, while some soft toys should be washed according to their instructions.”

Thrupenny Bits, the brand committed to making breastfeeding comfortable, portable and stylish is delighted to announce their award winning product is now endorsed by midwives.


The team were thrilled to hear that a number of mums have been told about the unique breastfeeding pillow by their midwife and it was especially exciting to learn that internationally recognised breastfeeding expert Geraldine Miskin was among them.


RRP: Starting from £33                                                                                                                                                               

Stockists: thrupennybits.co.uk

Midwives comment on CQC’s 2013 survey of women’s experience of maternity care


Commenting on the survey’s results, Cathy Warwick, the Royal College of Midwives’ chief executive said: “We welcome evidence of improvements in women’s experience of maternity care since 2010, but there are  worrying findings, too. It is sad to see that in three years the NHS has not improved in terms of women seeing the same midwife during their care, which often means women have to repeat their histories over and over again.


This third survey shows that the NHS continues to fail too many women. It sets out yet more evidence of the real-life and disheartening effects on women of the shortage of midwives.  How many more flashing red lights do we need?    I am deeply disappointed about the high proportion of women who were left alone and worry about this during early labour.  It is sad, too, that vital postnatal care is a focus for women’s criticisms. We urgently need to change these things.


“The RCM’s latest estimate is that the NHS in England is short of 4,800 midwives, so it is sadly inevitable that women will see many different midwives, but it does not have to be this way. We are seeing some action to bring this shortage down, but those efforts need to be redoubled if we are to see fewer women have a negative experience of what should be amongst the happiest moments of their lives. Maternity care is the earliest health intervention of them all and getting it right for mothers, babies and parents is an important part of supporting families and building good health for later in life.”


Amy Childs Launches Floor-Length & Fabulous Collection


Former TOWIE Star and businesswomen, Amy Childs, has launched her all-black Floor-Length & Fabulous Collection ahead of Christmas 2014.

From elegant drop-shoulder evening dresses, to stunning sequin celebratory numbers and sophisticated jumpsuits, there is a style to suit every figure this festive season.



Speaking about the collection, Amy said:

“Everyone has a little black dress in their wardrobe, but sometimes us girls want a more sophisticated look. I’ve designed my Floor-Length & Fabulous collection to be elegant and sexy; showing some leg yet skimming the floor. With a splash of glitz and glam detailed on every dress, the collection is perfect for formal dinner parties, masquerade balls and New Year celebrations. I’ve also chosen a variety of different styles, including a jumpsuit, so you can look fabulous in a floor-length frock this Christmas and New Year."

Amy Childs’ Floor-Length & Fabulous Collection is stocked online on www.amychildsofficial.co.uk, at her flagship store in Brentwood, Essex and boutique in the Eastgate Shopping Centre in Basildon, Essex as well as high-street giants such as Next, Lipsy and BANK.

From left to right; PIPPA BLACK £95.00; MANDY £80.00; TRUDIE BLACK £80.00; STEFANIE BLACK £90.00; UNA £99.00.

Amy Childs’ Floor-Length & Fabulous Collection is available from www.amychildsofficial.co.uk.

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