PROPOSALS have been drawn up for new grant systems in Blackburn with Darwen to promote breast feeding and better parent and infant relationships.

Council chiefs have approved plans to establish two small-scale funding streams, each offering financial support of up to £9,000.

Blackburn-based wellbeing agency Spring North will managed one - covering parent-infant relationships.

And the CVS is set to run the other - designed to promote breast feeding.

Each outfit will be paid £1,000 to organise grants before the end of March 2025, in a move ratified by the borough's strategic director for children and education Joanne Siddle.

In a report for councillors, she said: "We would like to enhance our services to go further by the provision of peer support for perinatal mental health and infant feeding.

"We would like to expand reach and create a place-based approach in local community venues. This would also enhance accessibility for families who struggle to access an existing offer, for example within the rural communities.

"Spring North and CVS both have experience of managing a small grant process, they have excellent links with community partners and venues.

They will manage this process for (the council) but there will be (authority) representatives as part of the grant allocation panel.

"Small groups will be able to apply for some money. This could be used for room hire, for example if a group of parents would like to develop a peer support group for them to come together in a more

rural area and need to book some space, they can bid for the funds to enable this to happen."

Grants could be offered for local awareness campaigns, targeted support for groups least likely to initiate breastfeeding or working with young people to raise awareness of breastfeeding benefits.

Other ideas may cover working to support the wider family around breastfeeding or setting up peer support around perinatal mental health for evening and weekends.]

Funding has recently been set aside by the NHS to develop and expand mother and baby units, specialist health teams, and maternal mental health services.

Ms Siddle added: "We are also working collaboratively with local specialist mental health teams to identify local training and supervision needs and explore scope to provide training, consultation, and supervision for the wider workforce to support early identification and prevention."