Keighley Healthy Living

“There’s definitely a real community atmosphere. It may sound cliched, but I see these people as my family. Here, the people matter.”

Yorkshire and the Humber

Charity location

£100,470

Grant size

3 years

Funding period

Our partnership

Keighley Healthy Living supports the health and wellbeing of local people in Keighley, West Yorkshire, and surrounding areas. The charity, established in 2001, operates against the stark difference in healthy life expectancy between Keighley and more affluent neighbouring towns such as Ilkley. Working with upwards of 3,500 people every year, the charity runs a full schedule of projects to improve health and wellbeing and reduce social isolation including exercise, art, IT and cookery classes for people of all abilities. Lloyds Bank Foundation awarded Keighley Healthy Living a three-year grant worth £100,470 in April 2019.

The funding specifically supports the charity’s busy Young Parents’ Project which supports people aged 16 to 21 who have young children or are expecting a child. Parents accessing the project are often from low-income households or may have experienced difficulties in their own childhood.

The project provides in-depth one-to-one support, advice on pregnancy and a weekly drop-in which provides a community of support and helps young parents cope with challenges, share parenting skills and build confidence.

 Melanie Hey, Chief Officer of Keighley Healthy Living, said:

“Our main aim is to improve health and wellbeing and to tackle health inequalities in disadvantaged communities within Keighley. There is an estimated 21-year difference in healthy life expectancy across the district. In the most deprived parts of Keighley, people will spend just over 50 years in self-reported good health; this compares to over 71 years for people in the least deprived parts of the district. What stands out is that in a small geographical area, you've got real differences in levels of inequality. I feel passionately about tackling the reasons behind these inequalities and looking at why these inequalities exist.

“To help tackle this, we really want to connect communities together; one way of achieving this is through peer support in group settings. Often people attending our groups become really good friends. This is really invaluable because it creates a network to help tackle social isolation.

“We work with young parents – a lot of them are working to overcome complex issues and sometimes go through periods of crisis. We want to prepare people for what to expect from their pregnancy so Flora, our Young Parents Group Co-ordinator, looks at what help they need and offers tailored support for their first years as parents. She visits them in their homes to see what they need or sees them in the hospital when they give birth so that they have immediate support when leaving hospital with their baby.

“Flora recently went to the home of one young parent with two children who had moved to the area. They no fridge, washing machine and no beds. Flora worked with the family and was able to provide immediate support and was able obtain all the items needed within a short timescale. Experiencing poverty and all the things that come with that can affect someone’s mental health so it’s important to give someone hope, empower individuals and help to build community resilience.”

Flora Jennings is Keighley Healthy Living’s Young Parents Group Co-ordinator – a role made possible thanks to funding from Lloyds Bank Foundation.

She said: “We’re very parent-led and support is tailored to each person. When clients are referred, I will look at absolutely everything. And I mean everything – housing, private rent, debt, education. So, with younger parents, we could have discussions around those who want to go back into education after they’ve had their baby and if they’re ready, we help them find childcare.

“We will tackle any issues that a young parent may have. But we also empower them to make own decisions. For example, we help them to know how to stick to a budget plan. It’s the little changes that add up.

“Everybody is welcome at the Young Parents’ Group. We do ‘baby journals’ and ‘chill and chat’. We create a safe space where young parents can come in, make friends and let their children play and interact with other parents of their own age.

“I think it’s important for young parents to be supported so that they can make the right decisions for their children. It’s about encouragement and guiding young people at a crossroads in their lives so that they choose the right direction and make changes that will benefit them and their children. The changes make a difference not just to their health but have a massive impact on their children’s health, development, education and wellbeing.

“I have been told I’m a bit like Mary Poppins helping all these children, but I want to see young parents grow and mature to become amazing parents. The people I help don’t ever lose contact; they always keep in touch.

“A lot of services in this area have ended and children’s services have seen budget cuts so we’re thankful to Lloyds Bank Foundation for their support. We’ve been there for young parents when others haven’t and the feedback we’ve had has been absolutely amazing. We want young parents to look back on their parenting experience positively. It doesn’t matter how old you are when you have your first child. With the right support, everyone can be a fantastic parent.

“Some of the young parents see this place as a second home and many of them have been on a journey. This is their safe space. I want to help families in Keighley. If you live in the area, you can see the difficulties that people go through.

“The young parents are just a joy to work with and you can help with that journey through life. Regardless of whatever they’ve been through, this is the beginning of a new life with a child.”

Mum Amber Griffin, aged 22, from Keighley, regularly visits the Young Parents’ Group with five-year-old son.

She said: “Every single week, the place is packed. Babies can play with each other and mums get to speak to other people like them. We all come from different walks of life and some have come from really tough backgrounds. The place is a sanctuary, I’ve known Flora since I was 16 and I’m 22 now. I have a son who is five and Flora has been supporting me every step of the way as he’s grown up. There are not many women like her. She is just an amazing woman. We don’t get judged and she listens to us. If you need advice, she gives it to you. You could walk in there and not know her but she’d become your best friend and try to help you. She’s like a second mum to some people. She’s brilliant.

“There’s always something to do at the group. We could be making things or doing arts and crafts with the children and parents get to have a break and have a chat and coffee.

“When I first came here, I was a bit overwhelmed with how many women were in here and how many were in my situation. But I kept coming back, slowly settled in and started to feel relaxed around the other women. We shared a lot of personal stories which made me want to keep on coming. There’s definitely a real community atmosphere. It may sound cliched but I see these people as my family. Here the people matter.”

When I first came here, I was a bit overwhelmed with how many women were in here and how many were in my situation. But I kept coming back, I slowly settled in and started to feel relaxed around the other women. We shared a lot of personal stories which made me want to keep on coming. There’s definitely a real community atmosphere. It may sound cliched, but I see these people as my family. Here, the people matter.

Amber, visitor to the Young Parents group

What do we mean by Young Parents

Young people under the age of 21 who have become parents and may have adversely affected their health, relationships and opportunities to continue their education or move into training/employment.

Our Impact on Young Parents in 2018

9

new grants to charities supporting young parents

76

small partner charities working to support young mums or dads

2.3

years is the average length of our grants for Young Parent charities

Find out if you're eligible for funding

To be eligible to apply for any grant from us, you need to meet all our criteria