Young Mums Creating Brighter Futures
Published on 12 April 2018
A Dundee community project, created by and for young parents, has been shortlisted for a £50,000 National Lottery grant which could transform the lives and skillset of 30 teenage parent families throughout the city.
Led by Front Lounge, the new ‘Bringing Up Baby (BUBS)’ ‘Kindred Clothing’ project will build the skills, confidence and networks of vulnerable, young families by supporting parents under the age of 20 to design and make clothes, learn new skills and make friends while their children play. Ultimately, it is hoped that those attending will leave with an official accreditation from Dundee and Angus College.
The project has now reached the final regional stages of The People’s Projects, a National Lottery competition, allowing members of the public to vote for worthy projects within their local communities. The three finalists receiving the highest number of votes will go on to secure up to £50,000 funding. The voting period runs from Monday 16 until Monday 30 April 2018, with the winners announced on Thursday 3 May, during the 6pm STV News programme.
Kindred Clothing will feature weekly drop-in sessions at Front Lounge’s Hilltown premises, as well as showcase events and visits to creative venues including Dundee Contemporary Arts’ print studio. The weekly sessions will be led by young parent volunteers, supported by a Community Learning and Development (CLD) Worker, with a Making Practitioner facilitating the creative sessions. If funded, the programme will include tailoring, knitting and quilting, with the added opportunity for parents to design their own fabric through screen-printing. The grant would help pay for materials and machinery, toys and a Play Worker, allowing parents to concentrate on their crafting knowing that their children are being looked after just a few feet away.
Longer term, it is hoped that the skills gained will ultimately lead to external accreditation, a significant factor given that some participants may have left school early, with few qualifications. At the end of the funding period, the participating parents will also have gained skills which could lead to new employment opportunities.
Founded in 2012, BUBS, Front Lounge’s young parents group, was started by a young mother who was tired of feeling isolated, lonely and judged. The group is currently funded by National Lottery Funding ‘Awards for All’ funding and Women’s Fund for Scotland and supported by NHS Tayside.
Alice Stuart, 28 year old mother of Lily (aged two) and the brainchild behind Kindred Clothing, will be helping the young parents with the making side of the project. She said, “I first became involved with BUBS when Lily was a few months old. To me, it was all about meeting other mums in a similar position and doing something productive. When you’re a young mum, it’s easy to stay in and hide away but that can do more harm than good.”
These sentiments were echoed by 18 year old Hannah Watson, who started attending BUBS late last year. With one year old daughter Grace, Hannah was ‘keen to meet other mums and dads while also doing something productive’.
Meanwhile, Zoe Smith, 20 year old mum to one year old Tilly added, “I started coming along to BUBS to get my daughter interacting with other kids. BUBS is a happy, friendly environment, a place where you can learn new things and have experiences outside your comfort zone. I love getting the chance to learn new things! BUBS has a good mix of different ages of young parents and I like the fact that it is not cliquey.”
Meanwhile, Chika Inatimi, Project Leader believes the project will have far-reaching rewards, not just for parents but the wider community – “Kindred Clothing has the potential to be huge and is such an amazing project. Helping parents who feel isolated due to financial challenges, restricted access to transport and a chronic lack of confidence, the project is free and entirely peer-led – it’s already helping overcome the barriers that reinforce the sense of isolation. In addition, meeting others in similar circumstances who share similar interests can be very encouraging, especially when mums, dads and children can all learn and play alongside each other. Some of the most profound outcomes BUBS has witnessed over the years is the strong friendships that have formed.”