Operated out of the Kalkee Road Children’s and Community Hub, The Multiple Birth Support Program coordinates local people to help multiple birth families in their homes.
The program has been in recess for the past four years, but there is a need to start the program again. Not everyone has friends and family living close by and sometimes it’s necessary to rely on community volunteer support.
For that to happen, between 5 and 10 volunteers are needed. Volunteers are provided with training and ongoing support.
Long-time volunteer Kerry Flynn, who is a retired midwife with 30 years of experience said while it was challenging enough with one new baby, parents of multiple newborns required extra support. For the first time mother of a multiple birth, feeding, bathing, changing the newborns and doing the washing can be a massive undertaking, especially if the family has other young children.
“You certainly don’t need to have any qualifications. You just need to be somebody who enjoys giving back to the community,” Mrs Flynn said
“They often say volunteers get an equal amount of benefit from these types of programs. I actually think I get more enjoyment out of it than the families,” Mrs Flynn said.
“It’s not about giving new mothers advice or instructions. It’s more about giving them the chance to live relatively normal lives and reinforcing to the mother she is doing a great job,” she said.
Folding washing, cooking meals and routine household jobs are types of support volunteers can provide, that are really appreciated by the families.
But Horsham mother of three Megan Harley said it was on trips out and about that the help of volunteers was especially valuable.
Mrs Flynn spent two hours per week helping care for Megan’s twin boys when the program was active in 2016 and has formed a close bond with the family with continuing support.
“Some of the most helpful things Kerry has done is simply attending an appointment at the hairdressers or the doctors,” Ms Harley said.
“Kerry has helped me quite a lot. Sometimes she would come and play with the kids while I cooked tea or she would do little household jobs so that I could spend quality time with the boys,” she said.
Renee McLean is a mother of five including twin boys. Mrs McLean is actually a twin herself and her parents also had five children.
“As a family we really appreciated Kerrie’s assistance, helping with the twins and supporting the other children with their activities,” she said.
“If anybody thinks they may be suitable to volunteer then I’d encourage them to have a go and see what it’s like. I will certainly consider when I’m older.
“You just need to be able to support families one or two hours each week.”
Volunteer information sessions to be held at the Kalkee Road Children’s and Community Hub:
- Tuesday 22 October, 11am to 12pm
- Thursday 24 October, 2pm to 3pm
- Monday 28 October, 1pm to 2pm