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  • Coronavirus Rotary Grant helping to support autistic children in the local community

    by Kirstie Flack | Jun 24, 2020

    Dreamdrops packsCoronavirus Rotary Grant helping to support autistic children in the local community

    Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust’s charity dreamdrops has received a kind donation of £300 from the Rotary Club of Huntingdon. The club had successfully approached the Rotary District 1070’s Coronavirus Grant Scheme for £300 to advance the work of dreamdrops.

    This has enabled the charity to buy age-appropriate activity packs for local children and their families being supported by dreamdrops.

    The packs include colouring books, colour felt tips pens for the older children, dot to dot books for younger children, sticker packs, arts and crafts, doddle magic books, story books with puzzles, bubble wands and fun pads. The parents have also benefitted by receiving adult colouring packs for de-stressing, calming and relaxation, hand repair cream and face moisturiser and relaxing aromatherapy candles.

    Part of the grant will go towards providing one of the family's with a SensaHut - a perfect sensory haven indoor tent, where a child can explore ‘glow in the dark’ resources, and retreat from the stresses of daily life for a while.

    Anne-Marie Hamilton, Chairman of dreamdrops said: “A huge thank you to everyone at Rotary District 1070, I cannot thank you enough for your kindness and generosity in enabling us to provide these care packages for our families who are struggling to cope with all the additional stresses during the current lock down. The gifts that you have enabled us to purchase will make a huge difference to not only the children, but will also be a tremendous help to their families during this time.

    “My sincere thanks to David Cozens, President of the Rotary Club of Huntingdon, Assistant Governor, Gloria Haywood from Rotary District 1070 and Mike Andrews, Vice Chairman of dreamdrops for their involvement in making this all possible.”

    Assistant Governor, Gloria Haywood from Rotary District 1070 said: “The Rotary Clubs in Huntingdonshire have always had a supportive, close and very caring interest in dreamdrops and the fine work that is achieved.

    “It is wonderful that the gifts recently provided can be enjoyed by families impacted by the Corona virus.”

    For further information on how you can help raise funds for the charity please visit or email

  • Walking 5 miles a day for a month for our charity dreamdrops!

    by Kirstie Flack | Jun 10, 2020

    Dreamdrops fundraising - Lily, Daisy and Rose (day 15)Walking 5 miles a day for a month for our charity dreamdrops!

    Sisters Lily and Daisy Bell are walking 5 miles every day for a month and their little sister Rose, who is only 2, is walking 3-4 miles. They are raising money the Trust’s charity dreamdrops; what a fantastic effort from the whole family!

    Mum Sianade said: “The girls are now 15 days into their walk and they have really enjoyed being out in the sunshine and the rain! On Rose’s best day she did 5.5 miles and the girls did 11! But most days Lily and Daisy do 5 miles and Rose does between 3 and 4. So far they have raised £459 and would love to reach £500, I am so proud of them.

    “Dreamdrops has helped us so much; they have taken the girls and their brother Shay (who has special needs) on day trips, to Christmas parties and provided us with treats to keep us entertained during the Coronavirus lock down, as well as their ongoing support.

    “Daisy had lots of time on Holly Ward at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, from being a new born and now has community support through dreamdrops, so we wanted to help the charity to help more families like us.”

    Anne-Marie Hamilton, Chairman of dreamdrops said: “A huge thank you to Lily, Daisy and little Rose, we cannot thank them enough for the amazing effort they have put in to raising money for dreamdrops.  

    “The money will be put towards helping sick children who are being cared for at home or in the community, making their lives a little easier during stressful times and what better time to be helping local families.”

    If you would like to donate to this worthy cause visit Lily, Daisy and Rose’s Just Giving page at:

    For further information on how you can help raise funds for the charity please visit or email

    Photo: Lily, Daisy and Rose on their daily walks.

  • Bedfordshire mums urged to access breastfeeding support amid coronavirus

    by User Not Found | Jun 05, 2020

    This Breastfeeding Celebration Week, health visitors from Bedfordshire Community Health Services are urging mums to continue accessing support for breastfeeding if they need it. Mums are invited to make the most of new services available in light of COVID-19 to support them on their breastfeeding journey. They can either call 0300 555 0606 or text Bedfordshire’s Parentline on 07507 331456 to get advice from the health visiting service, and the option of a video consultation with the Baby Friendly Team is also available if needed.

    Mums-to-be can also access a fully online version of Bump, Birth and Baby Stuff, the antenatal class run by health and care professionals from across Bedfordshire, which includes a full session on infant feeding.

    Support from a health visitor, whether in person or online, can be a vital step towards helping a mother make the decision to continue breastfeeding her baby. Tonia, a mum from Bedfordshire, said: “I contacted the Health Visiting team in Bedford when my son was a month old, after experiencing pain and over supply while breastfeeding. As it was during lockdown, I was unsure of the support I'd have access to, but after a few video calls with Karen from the Baby Friendly Team I am still breastfeeding and going strong at 13 weeks! If any mum is struggling or in need of emotional support, particularly in these difficult times, I whole heartedly recommend contacting your health visiting team!”

    Sarah Pickford, Baby Friendly Lead, said: “Breastfeeding is one of best ways mums can give their babies a healthy start in life, so it’s essential that we continue to help mums to breastfeed in the middle of a pandemic when it might feel even more difficult. That’s why our teams have been going above and beyond to adapt our usual package of infant feeding support in light of the coronavirus restrictions. We’re so proud of all they’ve achieved in a short time and under such challenging circumstances.”

    Councillor Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing in Bedford Borough, said, “Even during these unprecedented times, support is still available for mums. Breastfeeding can sometimes take time to get the hang of and is something mum and baby learn together. We’re lucky to have several breastfeeding support options that can help over the phone or online by video call. It’s important for mums to know that there is no evidence that coronavirus can be passed to your baby in breastmilk.”

    Councillor Sue Clark, Central Bedfordshire Council Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said: “Coronavirus has changed the way we all operate, and it means our Children’s Centres have not been able to host their usual Bump, Birth and Baby Stuff antenatal classes. We have worked in partnership with community midwives and the NHS Baby Friendly Team with support of a local parent to develop a solution.

    “We have created a video version of Bump, Birth and Baby Stuff to help mums-to-be care for themselves and their babies. The centres are also working with the Baby Friendly Team to ensure all new parents are contacted, and offered support. In line with this Breastfeeding Celebration Week there is a video with advice for expectant mothers on feeding their babies in order to help give them a healthy start in life. 

    Our Children's Centres are also still offering support and running many sessions and activities online via their Facebook pages, the links to which can all be found on our Family Information Directory.

    From improving infant and maternal health to supporting a strong relationship between mother and baby, breastfeeding has been proven to have a huge range of benefits. There is currently no evidence to suggest that coronavirus can be carried or passed on in breast milk. The well-recognised benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of coronavirus through breastmilk.

    These new services are a continuation of high quality support offered by health visitors from Bedfordshire Community Health Services, who were the first in the East of England to receive a Unicef UK gold award for their work back in February. This was in recognition of their hard work and numerous initiatives, from Baby Brasseries, to the breastfeeding peer supporter scheme, to the #FreeToFeed campaign promoting breastfeeding when out and about. Find out more about the Bedfordshire infant feeding team and what they do here.

  • NHS Diabetes Advice helpline

    by Debbie Manning | May 27, 2020

    NHS England and NHS Improvement have launched a new helpline in response to disruption to normal diabetes services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and response.

    The service is for adults living with diabetes who use insulin to manage their condition and require immediate clinical advice.

    Whether you or a member of your household have caught the virus, or routine care has been disrupted, the helpline is available for immediate clinical advice to help you understand how to effectively manage their diabetes.

    You can access NHS Diabetes Advice via Diabetes UK’s support line on 0345 123 2399 Monday-Friday from 9am-6pm.

    NHS Diabetes Advice Helpline - Twitter2

  • Virtual Board Meetings

    by Sarah Turner | May 15, 2020

    Due to the current Coronavirus Pandemic, the Trust’s board meetings, which would usually take place in public, will be held ‘virtually.’ In line with government guidance, the Trust's unable to invite people to attend the public board meeting ‘in person’.

    A set of papers will be published on the Trust’s website. There will be an option for members of the public to submit any questions they may have to the board for consideration by emailing

    Questions should be kept brief and to the point. Please use ‘Trust Board Meeting Question’ in the subject heading of your email. Responses will either be posted on the Trust’s board meeting webpage following the meeting or can be found in the minutes published in due course.

  • MyDESMOND: a Digital Diabetes Programme launches for Adults with Type 2 diabetes

    by Debbie Manning | May 11, 2020

    During these unprecedented times when group based health education is not possible Luton Adult Services are now proud to offer adults with Type 2 diabetes, MyDESMOND (My Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed), a national online educational programme.

    With the latest figures in the UK showing that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubling in the last 20 years to 3.8 million recorded currently, and about 90% diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

    Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition which develops when the body still makes some insulin but it doesn’t work properly or production is reduced. Management of Type 2 diabetes varies from person to person; some through diet and lifestyle, and others through medication including insulin. 

    General practice data from 2016 - 2017 shows that 13,530 of those adults registered at a practice have a diagnosis of diabetes, amounting to 7.75% of the local population aged 17+, with great variance from practice to practice.

    Evidence shows that those with Type 2 diabetes who attend diabetes education have improved biomedical outcomes (such as HbA1c, weight, cholesterol and blood pressure), improvements in psychosocial outcomes (e.g. quality of life, depression, hypoglycaemia rates) and better behavioural outcomes suggesting that those that attend understand more about their diagnosis and therefore do more to improve their health and well-being.

    Luton Adult Services been offering access to DESMOND group education since 2010 and in the last year alone 724 patients with Type 2 diabetes have attended. To support this, and to increase access to information and support we are now proud to announce the launch of MyDESMOND to anyone with Type 2 diabetes across Luton.

    MyDESMOND*, developed by the Leicester Diabetes Centre, is an interactive digital programme with the following features:

    • Interactive learning and 8-weekly booster sessions to help increase knowledge and confidence about Type 2 diabetes through a range of videos, quizzes and educational materials
    • The ability to track activity levels and even link up to the Fitbit, GARMIN or Google Fit
    • Add weight, blood pressure, HbA1c, diet and cholesterol info to track progress and changes
    • Set daily and long-term goals
    • There’s the chance to compete with others in the MyDESMOND community on the global leader boards
    • Chat with members of the MyDESMOND community
    • Invite friends and family to join in as well through the ‘Buddies’ feature
    • Ask the Expert – connected to the multi-disciplinary team of the Leicester Diabetes Centre

    Fay Westwood – Diabetes Specialist Dietitian, said: “It is hoped that adding MyDESMOND to our portfolio of diabetes education for our patients will go a long way to making a positive difference to the lives of those with Type 2 diabetes. Especially during these uncertain times and when individuals are at home shielding or isolating by sharing clear and concise messages to encourage healthy living along with some innovative features such as the ‘buddies’ and education booster sessions, we hope that those with Type 2 diabetes will reap the benefits.”

    Feedback from people who have been using MyDESMOND from across the UK already has been positive; quotes and findings from a recent national survey by the Leicester Diabetes Centre include:

    “Interesting with great information I have found it very useful.”
    “MyDesmond has turned my life style around for the better.”
    “MyDesmond is an excellent reference to allow me to refresh my knowledge in my effort to self-manage my diabetes.”

    • 90% said the information in the site was ‘sufficiently detailed’
    • 83% agreed the ‘programme was easy to use’.
    • 84% agreed that they ‘enjoyed using this programme’.
    • 89% said that the information within the programme was valuable/extremely valuable.
    • 83% found the programme engaging
    • 86% said that they had a ‘better understanding of my condition’ as a result of using MyDESMOND
    • 62% reported they were more active and 77% changed their diet as a result of using MyDESMOND

    If you are interested in getting access to MyDESMOND, please contact the team on 0333 405 3185 or email:

  • COVID-19 Public Donations

    by Sarah Turner | Mar 31, 2020

    We’ve been contacted by several members of the public wishing to show their gratitude to our staff who are going above and beyond to ensure our patients and service users continue to receive high-quality care during this unprecedented time.

    If you’d like to make a donation to the Trust’s Charitable Funds, which enable us to support staff in a variety of ways, you can do so online via our JustGiving page here - thank you.


  • Call for young people’s contributions for Bedfordshire and Luton ChatHealth competition

    by User Not Found | Mar 17, 2020

    EXTENDED DEADLINE - now 11 May 2020

    Are you aged 11-19 years and have a passion for design? Your local NHS needs you to help create our new promotional materials!

    ChatHealth is a health and wellbeing service for 11-19 year olds, which allows them to text the school nursing team for help and advice, and Luton and Bedfordshire Community Services are calling for young people’s help and skills to design our new ChatHealth poster.

    The winning entry will work with our communications team to finalise their design and get to see their poster appear all over the county, as well as win a competition prize of £50 vouchers (of your choice).

    The poster needs to be clear, bright, and eye catching and convey the following key information:

    • The ChatHealth contact number: 07507 331450 for Bedfordshire or 07520 616070 for Luton
    • That you will be texting your school nurse
    • That it is for young people
    • That it is confidential
    • Some examples of the areas of support, for example: healthy relationships, healthy lifestyles, emotional wellbeing, sexual health, smoking, drugs, alcohol, and bullying 

    You can use shapes/symbols/imagery and it can be hand designed on paper (and scanned in) or in digital format. Please email your competition entry, along with your Name and School/College to by closing date 11 MAY 2020. The winning entry will be notified via email and their school on the 1st June 2020. 

    Please also share and display the Chathealth competition poster at school or any other relevant locations for young people. 

    Here are some examples of ChatHealth posters that have been used elsewhere in the country that can help inspire you:

    Chathealth example 2 ChatHealth example 1 
     ChatHealth example 3  ChatHealth example 4


    Find out more about ChatHealth in Luton here, and in Bedfordshire here.

  • Olmo Lounge raises funds for local children’s charity

    by Kirstie Flack | Mar 16, 2020

    The Olmo Lounge Donation - 120320The wonderful staff from the Olmo Lounge in Huntingdon has raised nearly £1,000 for Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust’s charity, ‘dreamdrops.’

    The Olmo Lounge is a new neighbourhood café bar on Huntingdon High Street. The lounge is committed to engaging with the local community and as part of this they wanted to connect with a local charity, which strikes a chord with their team and customers, to support their efforts and raise funds.

    Kylie Knipp, General Manager said: “We wanted to raise money for a local charity and were keen to support dreamdrops, who are such a worthy children’s charity.

    “We raised the money by donating 50p from every burger and 10p from every coffee sold in the first month of trading. We had a great first month selling 2,576 coffees and 1,367 burgers!  We hope the money raised will benefit the charity and look forward to working with the charity in the future.”

    Anne-Marie Hamilton, Chairman of dreamdrops said: “We are so grateful to everyone at the Olmo Lounge, in particular Kylie, for raising such a large amount of money for our charity. We are thrilled that they chose dreamdrops and the money will be used to help support children and their families in the local community.”

    For further information on how you can help raise funds for the charity please visit or email

    Photo: Kylie Knipp, General Manager of the Olmo Lounge and Anne-Marie Hamilton, Chairman of dreamdrops.
  • Bedfordshire Community Health Services first in East of England to win Unicef UK Gold Award

    by User Not Found | Mar 03, 2020

    UNICEF baby friendly Gold award Beds

    Health visitors from Bedfordshire Community Health Services are the first in the East of England to receive a Unicef UK gold award for their work.

    The service, which is part of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, is also one of only thirteen in England to receive the prestigious Unicef Achieving Sustainability (Gold) Award. It celebrates excellent and sustained practice in the support of infant feeding and parent-infant relationships. The service held a celebration even on 27 February, attended by staff, volunteers, partners and local MP Mohammed Yasin.

    Sarah Pickford, Baby Friendly Lead, said: “Staff and volunteers work so hard to support mums and babies and promote breastfeeding, and it’s wonderful to see their commitment recognised with a Gold Award. We’re incredibly proud of the support we’re able to offer mums in Bedfordshire, and determined to build on our success too.”

    A range of initiatives  are available in Bedfordshire to support breastfeeding, from the Baby Brasseries support groups, to the breastfeeding peer supporter scheme, to the #FreeToFeed campaign promoting breastfeeding when out and about.

    Sue Ashmore, Director of the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative said, “We’re very pleased to present the Gold Award to Bedfordshire Community Services in light of their high standards, clear vision and strong leadership when it comes to improving outcomes for babies, mothers and families. We congratulate all staff involved and are looking forward to seeing what they achieve next.”

    The award is the latest step in Bedfordshire’s Baby Friendly journey, which started in 2009 when they registered and received their first full accreditation by Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative in 2013. However, the service will not be resting on its laurels, with the breastfeeding peer support volunteers and Baby Brasseries going strong, and expansions planned for the #FreeToFeed campaign.

    From improving infant and maternal health to supporting a strong relationship between mother and baby, breastfeeding has been proven to have a huge range of benefits. Mums in Bedfordshire can find out all about the breastfeeding support services available to them on our website here:
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