The Babes Project Annual report magazine 2020

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THE

BABES

ANNUAL REPORT 2019 - 2020

PROJECT


CONTENTS

THE BABES PROJECT

02 A letter from our CEO + Founder

03 A letter from our Chairman

04 Babes story

06 Babes mission, mission + priorities

08 Babes support services

11 Meet mama Ashlee

BABES IMPACT

14 Babes timeline

15 Covid-19 blog post

16 Babes operations

18 Babes stats

22 Babes geographical stats

24 Expanding to Cairns

27 Meet Cairns mama Anita

28 Where are they now?

BABES OVERVIEW

31 Babes team

32 Babes grants

33 Babes partnerships

34 Babes in the media

35 Babes campaigns

36 Babes resources

38 Babes supporters

39 Babes shop

41 Meet mama Zoe


THE BABES PROJECT

The Babes Project is a fantastic service. You offered me education, support and encouragement

throughout my pregnancy and the early stages of my motherhood journey. I don't know what I

would have done without the support of The Babes Project.

Graduated Croydon mama, June 2020


A LETTER FROM

HELEN

HELEN PARKER OAM

Founder + CEO

Unfortunately it is the reality here in Australia that so

many women facing complex social factors are the

victims of systemic issues which can have an adverse

impact on the outcomes for them and their babies.

Whilst the community sometimes responds

compassionately, there is still much inaction and a

lack of advocacy for mothers who need additional

support.

It is okay for women to be scared, emotional and

nervous about her future. It’s not okay for our

community to leave her alone to navigate this in

isolation. When the fear is removed with education

women can gain confidence about her own journey.

If we simply manage her fear with band aid solutions

and rescue responses, she will never gain the

capabilities she needs to succeed as a mother.

Over the past 11 years of The Babes Project I have

witnessed first hand how support and a safe space

will allow women to face unaddressed challenges

and help her have vision for a happy and healthy

future as a mother.

This year we proudly launched our three year

strategic plan which aims to continue advocating for

women in an effort to chip away at the negative

stigma surrounding a crisis pregnancy. We have used

this opportunity to reflect our learnings over the past

decade whilst moving the organisation towards a

powerful vision for the future.

I am so proud of our team who take their personal

discontent about how women are treated in our

society and move to respond in such a genuine and

powerful way. Even in this year which has been about

self preservation and survival for all our team show

up yet again They are determined to lead our nation

into a positive future for young families.

Thank you to all who contribute to The Babes Story.

Your passion and commitment to the vulnerable

young families in our community is inspiring.

Together we are changing the lives of so many

young families and I am so thankful.

Helen Parker OAM

CEO + Founder

2


A LETTER FROM

JASON

JASON PATER

Board Chairman

Babies continue to be born, even during lockdowns.

A significant number of Australian women

are facing motherhood unprepared and unsupported

which leads to further complexities and implications

for them and their developing families. And, of

course, Covd-19 is only adding to the stress and

anxiety many women face during pregnancy.

As Board Chair, I am really proud of how our team at

The Babes Project has created innovative ways to

support vulnerable women throughout their

pregnancy and early parenting months during these

unprecedented and challenging times. Our perinatal

program is now being run remotely and whilst

meeting in person is our preference, we are pleased

that women are getting the information and

emotional support they need.

During this time we are encouraging women

Australia-wide to use our iOS app and additional

resources. These include our recently released

Mama-life journal which encourages proactive

planning for baby.

Miraculously, we continue to receive funds to see us

through, thanks to so many generous supporters. If it

wasn’t for their passion to ensure support for

vulnerable families, this year would look significantly

different.

Thank you to all of our staff and volunteers who have

remained positive and fought hard to make sure our

clients are getting the support they need. Thank-you

also to the Board who have continued to provide

encouragement and guidance. Mum’s and bubs are

thriving during 2020 because of The Babes Project.

Jason Pater

Jason Pater

Board Chair

3


THE TBP STORY BABES STORY

Over the past 12 months, The Babes Project has

experienced healthy growth and wonderful moments

of celebration, whilst also facing significant

challenges and confronting decisions about our

future. Together the ups and downs are contributing

to our understanding that this rhythm of success and

hardship isn’t isolated to a single year; in fact these

moments are all part of creating something as

significant and impactful as The Babes Project.

There will always be challenges; we’re just becoming

less surprised by them and more adept at addressing

them quickly!

When we opened our third Perinatal Support Centre

in October 2019, we were thrilled to finally be

creating opportunities for women to seek support

outside of Victoria. Our National service has been an

excellent resource for interstate mamas, but we knew

that having a holistic and safe space in Cairns would

make a HUGE difference in the lives of so many Far

North Queensland families. The opening of this new

centre was planned beautifully and largely

celebrated. But we could never have anticipated the

global pandemic that was just around the corner.

Having three centres plus a National service has

meant we have the capacity to serve several

communities at one time. This was such an exciting

part of our growth planning, but unfortunately all of

these communities and services were hugely

impacted by COVID-19; and it seems that it will

impact our work and health of the organisation for a

long time to come.

The Babes Project National support launched two

years ago to ensure women Australia wide could

access some support whilst in the perinatal period.

And it has been this service that has become the key

to unlocking a new model of support for all our

clients across Australia as restrictions, lockdowns and

social distancing came into effect.

Our iOS app has continued to be used by women in

all states informing women about pregnancy stages

and the first year of baby’s life, as well as key

Australian contacts and services, an interactive

calendar, photo diaries, and experiences shared by

other mothers. Additional to this we released our

first mama-life workbook, which uses some of our

program content to encourage women to be

proactive in their planning for baby and life as a

mother. These resources have given women access

to support when facing more isolation than ever

before.

4


Whilst our support looks different this year, we have

been presented with many opportunities to focus on

our 2020-23 Strategic plan and priorities. With a

drive to improve our sustainability, partnerships and

excellence in all perinatal services our team have

wholeheartedly embraced a year of change to

ensure these priorities remain.

With every challenge comes opportunity. The Babes

Project has a team that is well-versed in adversity as

we have advocated for the best for our women over

many years now. And we now know that in doing so

we find creative and holistic solutions and outcomes

which will serve us and our mamas well into the

future.

"I have been supported by The Babes Project

in many ways. Their program taught me about

labour education, safe sleeping and bathing

practices, about values and traditions and how

to be a proactive parent. I don’t know how I

would have prepared to be a Mum without this

information.”

take with me to the hospital for my birth, and

given different care packages along the way. I

have been given the opportunity to share my

pregnancy and motherhood experience without

judgement and was encouraged and supported

at every turn.”

"The Babes Project is a fantastic service. You

offered me education, support and

encouragement throughout my pregnancy and

the early stages of my motherhood journey. You

are all caring and experienced, the information

I have been given has been invaluable to me

and my baby. I don't know what I would have

done without the support of the Babes

Project.”

- Aviva (Croydon Mama)

“As a part of the sessions about birth, I was

also supplied with all the things I needed to

5


THE BABES PROJECT

2020 - 2023

THE BABES PROJECT

Vision + Mission

CONNECTEDNESS

VISION STATEMENT

A society in which all women have access to

perinatal support.

MISSION STATEMENT

Helping families thrive by creating safe spaces

and innovative avenues for vulnerable women

to access vital perinatal support.

INCLUSIVITY

THE BABES PROJECT

Values

CONNECTEDNESS

We promote healthy relationships in family and

community and encourage networks of collaboration

and support.

INCLUSIVITY

We encourage and welcome participation and

contribution from all people and diverse sectors.

SAFETY

We implement and teach safe practices and create

nurturing spaces to ensure a healthy and secure

environment for all involved.

EMPOWERMENT

We are committed to ensuring every woman is

empowered and has access to education and skill

development to help her become responsible,

resilient and confident in her decisions and values.

EXCELLENCE

We provide high-quality programs and innovative

solutions to women, families and the community.

Holding ourselves to a high standard ensures

vulnerable women have access to the best support.

MOTHERHOOD

We empower women to increase their capacity to

become responsible and capable mothers to ensure

their children can be healthy, resilient and thrive in

their early years and beyond.

SAFETY

EMPOWERMENT

EXCELLENCE

MOTHERHOOD

6


THE BABES PROJECT

Priorities 2020 - 2023

1

2

3

4

5

REWRITING MOTHERHOOD

1.1 Creating platforms and opportunities to

communicate diverse stories of motherhood and

family

1.2 Challenging societal perceptions around

motherhood ideals

1.3 Providing safe spaces for vulnerable women to

navigate motherhood

AN EXCELLENT MODEL OF CARE

2.1 Implementing a trauma-informed and

therapeutic approach to services at all times

2.2 Ensuring the highest standard of practice in our

perinatal support program responding to the

evolving needs of our clients

2.3 Maximising all assets and resources to increase

our reach to support more women

LEADERSHIP IN THE PERINATAL SUPPORT SPACE

3.1 Creating benchmark standards for perinatal

support services Australia-wide

3.2 Achieving recognition Australia-wide as the

leading organisation in perinatal support

3.3 Engaging with healthcare providers, social

services and the community to address gaps in

perinatal support

STRONG PARTNERSHIPS + COLLABORATIONS

4.1 Creating partnerships and collaborations with

like-minded organisations, businesses and

individuals to advance our mission

4.2 Providing opportunities for community

participation in social good

4.3 Strengthening relationships with politicians, the

community and supporters

A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

5.1 Planning for future scaling of operations and

long-term financial sustainability

5.2 Ensuring a reliable and strong team to execute

the strategic priorities and growth of the

organisation

5.3 Measuring impact to highlight and communicate

growth priorities

7


BABES SUPPORT

SERVICES

TBP CROYDON PREGNANCY +

EARLY PARENTING SUPPORT

CENTRE

The Croydon centre was where it all began for

The Babes Project; in a small 80m 2 converted

shopfront. In the eight years since opening,

hundreds of women have walked through the

doors and sought help from the Croydon

Centre. It is where our first women learnt about

caring for their babies and where mums have

been educated.

LOCATION

445 Mt Dandenong Road,

Kilsyth VIC 3137

LAUNCHED 14th February, 2012

OPEN

CENTRE

MANAGER

Mondays - Wednesdays,

9am - 3pm

Annie Buruma

“ I always just love watching our mamas

become confident in themselves and their

parenting journey.

- Annie B, Croydon Centre Manager

TBP FRANKSTON PREGNANCY

+ EARLY PARENTING SUPPORT

CENTRE

The Babes Project Frankston emerged out of

realising the acute and vital need for the service

in the area. After running an outreach to the

Mornington Peninsula for two years the need

for a permanent space became urgent which

led to the opening of this centre in 2016.

The Babes Project Frankston has seen some of

the charity’s most desperate women asking for

help to birth and raise their babies. Since

opening this little house on O’Grady Ave it has

provided a safe environment for many

vulnerable families and continues to be an

essential source of hope for women in the area.

LOCATION

9 O’Grady Ave,

Frankston VIC 3199

LAUNCHED 8th July, 2016

OPEN

CENTRE

MANAGER

Tuesdays + Wednesdays,

9am - 3pm

Emma Enticott

“ It is a privilege to offer a non-judgemental

ear and to explain the amazing, holistic

support program that Babes provides.

- Emma E, Frankston Centre Manager

8


TBP CAIRNS PREGNANCY +

EARLY PARENTING SUPPORT

CENTRE

The Babes Project Cairns is our first centre

outside of Victoria. After recognising the need

for support for the women of FNQ, our now

Cairns Centre Manager Cristy Mock joined the

Babes team in 2019 with the dream of making

TBP Perinatal Support Program available. Our

beautiful shop front opened late 2019 and

stands in the heart of Cairns. This Centre is our

response to the vital need for perinatal support

in FNQ.

Since opening, several Cairns women have been

able to access full perinatal support and

empowerment throughout their motherhood

journey. We continue to believe in the bright

future for the mamas of Cairns and look forward

to seeing all that’s in store.

LOCATION

Shop 3/21 - 23 Sheridan

Street, Cairns QLD 4870

LAUNCHED 16th October, 2019

OPEN

Mondays + Tuesdays,

9am - 3pm

CENTRE Cristy Mock

MANAGER

“ I have the utmost confidence in the value

and success of our programs and know that

we have an amazing service to offer women

across Cairns. - Cristy M, Cairns Centre

TBP TRIAGE + NATIONAL

SUPPORT

After opening our Croydon and Frankston

physical support centres we saw the constant

stream of referrals coming in and recognised

the need for support beyond Victoria and

across Australia.

In July 2018 our answer to the constant referrals

was to streamline this process through one

Triage Support Worker, creating an efficient

triage process and smooth transition for women

into our program. And to answer the call of

women requiring support all across Australia our

National Support Program was born.

This program exists remotely and can be

accessed from anywhere. Whilst not based in a

specific location our Perinatal Support and

Education Program is delivered via phone and

material support sent straight to her door. This

program has created the opportunity for

women, no matter how remote, to access the

vital support she needs for her and her family,

regardless of her location.

“ What a privilege to be able to walk

alongside women at Babes and encourage

each one in these big life changes.

- Emma E, Triage + National Support Worker

9



MEET MAMA ASHLEE

Helen Parker sat down for a chat with Babes

mama Ashlee and her daughter Siale-Mae in

our Croydon centre, 10th March 2020.

Can you tell us a little bit about what was

happening in your world and why you became

a part of The Babes Project program?

When I fell pregnant I was up in Brisbane, I had

been there for three years. I was living with my

partner at the time, and things started to go a

little wrong with some of my relationships. I just

didn’t feel super supported, I was really sick,

and I just wasn’t able to take care of myself.

I decided to move back to Melbourne to be

with my family to have their support, and have

mum help me while I was so sick. I really had no

one except my family. My partner at the time

hadn’t moved with me and I didn’t know if he

was going to come or not, so there was a lot of

stress around that.

I guess when you create a family, you have an

idea of what it’s going to be like, and that

changed very quickly. I was super vulnerable,

and it was my Angliss SMS midwife, who said

“Have you heard of The Babes Project?”. She

told me a bit about it and I just thought “Wow,

that sounds amazing”. I just couldn’t believe

that this was a program that I could have

offered to me.

I got to start coming here and meeting with

some of the team, like Annie, and had that

support throughout my pregnancy.

What difference do you feel having The Babes

Project's support on your motherhood journey

has made for you?

I was no longer feeling so vulnerable. I had that

connection to something, which I felt like even

if I was having a rough week I could make it to

this appointment. I feel like someone was

always checking in with me, and even though

there was more educational things that I did

learn along the way, it was at the start each

appointment, “How are you Ashlee? How are

you going with things?”. I just knew I always

could make it to this appointment and it was

amazing being able to have that support and

feel supported. Because I did lose connections

with most of my people, I was able to meet

other mums at The Babes Project.

What does the future look like for you and

Siale?

I’m just in that phase right now where things are

settling down after my relationship breakup, but

I’m going to be studying nursing in a couple of

months online. I’m able to stay home with Siale,

study and skill myself up. That’s not something I

thought would come anytime soon, but it’s all

happening! Here there is that encouragement

to keep going and to see the future - even

though I don’t know exactly what it’s gonna be

like I feel like it’s there. Babes is such a big part

of my life. I’m just so thankful for this program

and I’m so thankful to be here.

11


BABES IMPACT

The Babes Project got me through the perinatal period. The support I received was infallible.

It was a life saver.

Graduated National mama, November 2019


The Babes Project completes pregnancy care to

those who need it most by providing

personalised, carefully considered support.

Not only is this practical in terms of education and

physical resources, but it becomes a home away

from home with emotional and social needs being

met too. It’s amazing!

——

Graduated Croydon mama, February 2020


BABES TIMELINE

2019

JULY

2020

14

VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT

In our second recruitment of the year we welcomed seven new

team members.

FRANKSTON’S BIRTHDAY

Our sweet Frankston Centre turned three!

VOLUNTEER TRAINING WEEKEND

Our seventh training weekend with our team!

JULY 28th

The Babes Project has been running for a decade...Happy

Birthday Babes!

AUGUST

CROWDFUNDING

Through the month of August we were getting ready to launch

our next campaign…a crowdfund! This campaign was required

to raise much needed funds to establish our first interstate

centre in Cairns…see how it all turned out below!

SEPTEMBER

OPS TEAM TRAINING

We spent the weekend with our Operations team training them

to lead and manage their services.

CROWDFUNDING BEGINS

On the 11th of September we launched this campaign standing

in our empty new Cairns centre with a vision for the women of

FNQ. We set the total of $68k to be raised in 34 days!

OCTOBER

OUR FIRST CAIRNS BABY

Sweet baby girl Sophie Rose was born one week before we

opened our first Centre in Cairns…welcome to the Babes fam!

CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN CLOSED

34 days after launching our Cairns crowdfund it closed raising

an amazing $68,573 to get our Cairns centre up, running and

operating. What a moment! A huge thanks to everyone who

contributed!

OCTOBER 16th

Our interstate centre is now open! On Wednesday 16th October

we opened our very first interstate Centre to support the

women, mamas and young families of FNQ.

CHRISTMAS LOVE

This campaign launches every October and our Babes

community responded in an amazing way - filling boxes with

gifts to give women in our program for Christmas.

TEAM TRAINING

We provide in-house training to all of our team! We love the

opportunity to come together from all of our different hubs

learning how to continually offer the best support for women.

NOVEMBER

MAROONDAH BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

AWARD!

We won the Maroondah Business of the year award and

couldn't be more proud to have our Croydon centre + HQ’s in

such a beautiful community.

SENIOR MANAGEMENT PLANNING WEEK

Every year our senior management team spend a week together

planning, dreaming and preparing for the year ahead.

TOOSHIES CAME TO BABES

Nov 28th the team from Tooshies spent the day with Babes

learning about our program, packing nappy bags + baskets for

our new mamas and packing Christmas boxes for all of our

women!

DECEMBER

CHRISTMAS @ BABES

Christmas is always such a beautiful time at Babes and we had

such a lovely time celebrating all of our women at our Centres!

FEBRUARY

VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT

Our first recruitment campaign out of two for the new year was

a success welcoming three new members to the team!

CROYDON’S BIRTHDAY

Our sweet Croydon Centre turned eight on Valentines Day!

1 MILLION FOR MUMS CAMPAIGN IS

LAUNCHED

1millionformums.com is our fundraising campaign for 2020 and

beyond. Launched on February 28th this crowdfund style

platform has helped in raising much needed funds for our vital

perinatal support service working with women Australia wide.

We continue to support our women, no matter what the world is

facing. Everything counts…make a financial contribution today!

MARCH

A CROYDON PHOTO SHOOT

With some of the team and some Babes mamas we held a

beautiful photoshoot at our Croydon Centre before the

restrictions started to come in towards the end of March. We

didn’t realise this would be our only in-person photoshoot for

the rest of the year.

APRIL

OUR DOORS WERE CLOSED BUT NOT OUR

SERVICE!

Due to the health pandemic our doors were closed, but we

quickly began supporting all of our women remotely! It didn’t

take long for our Centre Managers and team members to get

set up and ready to work from home. The support for all of our

women from a distance has continued. Whilst Babes has been

missing seeing our women and babies in our Centres we are

grateful that our vital perinatal support has been able to

continue through such isolating and challenging times. Read

more about covid, Babes + isolation on the next page.

MAY

A DIFFERENT KIND OF MOTHER’S DAY

With restrictions tight, but not too strict, we thought outside

the box…rather than our women coming to us to celebrate

Mother’s Day we took the celebrations to each and every one.

We jumped in our cars with balloons, a sweet little gift and our

mama-life journal (read more about this below) and we drove

around making sure each mama felt seen, celebrated and loved,

even in isolation.

MAMA-LIFE JOURNAL

On Mother’s Day we launched our Mama-life Journal thanks to

The Sisters of Charity Foundation for their generous donation to

this project. A sweet resource for new mamas and mamas-to-be

as they prepare and get inspired for the journey of motherhood

ahead. Available in our shop today with every purchase helping

The Babes Project continue in supporting more women through

pregnancy and early parenting, right across Australia.

OUR FIRST PODCAST GOES LIVE!

On May 29th we released our very first podcast into the world!

Launching ‘Not The Plan’ has created another platform for The

Babes Project to share motherhood stories and continue the

conversations around parenting, perspectives and current

events in the perinatal space.

JUNE

OUR PERINATAL EDUCATION PROGRAM IS

ALL READY…

Yes…we sent our newly formatted Perinatal Education Program

off to the printers all thanks to The Bank of Melbourne

Foundation. After years of development and input from

perinatal experts, the education piece of our program was

ready to be piloted and officially operating in our centres and

service delivery. Our unique Perinatal Education Program

contains includes educational appointments with information

about pregnancy, birth and parenting.


BEFORE COVID-19,

HEARTBREAKING ISOLATION

WAS ALREADY THE NORM FOR

TOO MANY MOTHERS

Blog post by Mary Bolling, April

15, 2020

If malevolent forces set out to break new mothers,

they would probably design something like current

COVID-19 situation.

For so many women, those first days and weeks with

an infant are the most vulnerable and overwhelming

of their lives.

Coronavirus means that every day around 850

women across Australia are taking new babies home

to isolation, cut off from the usual procession of

visitors, support, and encouragement. It feels weird,

anxious, alienating, and not how so many people

pictured their first days of parenting.

Of course, we’ve seen families get creative about

embracing their newest members – HouseParty

welcome events, safe-distance supply drops, and

promises of so many hugs when all this is over. The

support isn’t face-to-face, but it’s still just a call away.

But here’s the thing. Even before terms like “social

distancing” and “flattening the curve” rolled off our

tongues, countless new mums already felt cut off,

completely isolated by their new role, and by so

many circumstances beyond their control.

Shut out of their families, in problematic

relationships, a long way from support networks, or

just absolutely alone, they faced pregnancy and new

motherhood with nowhere to turn. Imagine how the

past few weeks have hit these new mums, now even

unable to leave the house with their bub or their

bump – or worse, scolded by virus vigilantes when

then do.

We don’t know how these women are doing,

because our society barely acknowledges their

existence. But last week, the discovery of a newborn

baby dead on a Seaford beach showed us the very

worst outcome of our failure to support vulnerable

new mums.

We are all touched by a tragedy this heartbreaking –

and instinctively we ask, outraged, who failed this

baby? The answer seems obvious, until the next

question: who failed the mother?

From my two decades working with vulnerable and

at-risk new mothers, I can tell you: the list is always

long. And it incriminates so many aspects of our

community that isolate and ignore vulnerable

women who fall through service and support gaps.

Nearly two years ago, the Victorian Parliament’s

Family and Community Development Committee

tabled its Inquiry into Perinatal Services, which made

more than 80 recommendations seeking to improve

perinatal care. While the State Government

committed $213.7 million in the 2019-20 budget to

improved supports for new parents, at the frontline

of supporting vulnerable mothers, I’ve only seen one

initiative actually reach struggling new mums at the

grassroots: the baby bundle.

Offered to every first-time parent or family in

Victoria, it’s a grab bag of books and baby supplies,

a first-aid kit, and parenting info. All helpful in theory,

but who does this one-size-fits-all approach actually

help? For prepared parents with plenty of

community, it’s a surplus – and for a new mum

desperate to connect with support, it’s beyond

inadequate. Victoria’s existing safety net for women

in those tough situations, the free statewide

Maternal and Child Health Service, only connects

with women after baby arrives.

It’s already too late for so many overwhelmed and

alone mums in those first frenzied few days:

alienated and mistrustful, they may have decided

that public services can’t help them, or worse fear

child services involvement, so disengage altogether.

Positive relationships are built on trust, not a series

of safety checklists (although we absolutely need

those too!) We need to start building community

connections and parenting confidence as a woman

prepares for motherhood, not in those first bleary

days and weeks of endless feeds, minimal sleep, and

just plain survival.

For the past decade, The Babes Project has offered

free perinatal support to some of Victoria’s most

vulnerable mums. I founded the not-for-profit service

because I could see so many gaps in how our

community supported women. Too often, social

supports failed them as they faced challenges like

teen pregnancy and single parenting, poor mental

health, domestic violence, drug and alcohol issues,

family breakdown and isolation.

Yes, isolation. COVID-19 has made it a buzzword,

but year in, year out, the vast majority of the

pregnant women who seek help from The Babes

Project put “isolation” amongst their biggest fears

for motherhood. And they’re right to be worried.

Australian mental health advocate Beyond Blue

warns that loneliness and isolation can contribute to

antenatal and postnatal depression, affecting one in

10 and one in six new mothers respectively.

Worse, figures from the Australian Institute of Health

and Welfare show women are more likely to

experience domestic violence while pregnant –

terrible for any woman, and completely paralysing if

there’s no lifeline outside the relationship. But

counter to isolation, there is good news: how

connectedness can transform motherhood, even for

our most vulnerable.

At The Babes Project, we’ve seen again and again

how holistic perinatal care, based on nurturing

relationships, supports women to grow confident

and empowered in their early motherhood. But it

takes time. It takes relationships that build trust. Of

course, it takes investment. And it takes leadership

that is prepared to ensure sustainable on-going

support, not just checklist ticked, or a quick fix.

Locked down in our separate homes, we’re all

dreaming of reconnecting face-to-face when the

world goes back to normal. But for so many,

“normal” means more disconnection and

disengaging. We need to start designing now for a

community where even our most vulnerable are

connected, included, and supported – especially in

those days where they need it most.

15


BABES OPERATIONS

BEC GEBERT

COO

The 2019-20 year started off strong for all services.

Croydon continued to grow in client numbers,

Frankston welcomed a new manager, women were

engaging with the National service and the

management team were in the final stages of

preparation for the launch of the Cairns Centre.

Each year The Babes Project holds a Winter Training

Weekend which is attended by all team members.

This focused on principles that are foundational to

the organisation’s culture and service delivery. The

weekend included an Appreciation Dinner to

recognise the time and effort our team give to The

Babes Project and the families who seek support.

Training over the year also covered trauma informed,

therapeutic practice. This training is integral to

understanding how The Babes Project engages with

vulnerable people. It also addresses vicarious trauma

and self care for Pregnancy Support Workers.

The Operations Team spent a weekend away

reflecting on the year, training and setting goals for

the next 12 months. This time was highly valuable in

building relationships among the team as they

support each other both in Victoria and interstate.

The Babes Project Frankston experienced growth in

both client numbers and additional team members.

And we were thrilled to welcome the Triage and

Interstate Support Worker into the role of Centre

Manager. A big highlight for Frankston was

welcoming three sets of twin girls in just under 10

months!

The Croydon Centre grew exponentially and were

required to implement waitlists on three occasions.

After some shifts in team we took time to re-imagine

the structure of our Centre teams which resulted in

piloting a Lead Worker role at Croydon. One Lead

Worker each day provides support to the Centre

Manager and can lead in their absence. Due to

changes in March (see Pandemic Impact) the Lead

Worker trial has not been fully implemented or

assessed at this stage.

Croydon experienced a drop in client numbers in

March. This was due to a pause in the Social Support

Program and later, to pandemic restrictions on group

activities. All clients were given the opportunity for

support via appointments however with fortnightly

lunches not available, some chose to graduate at this

time.

The Cairns Centre opened on October 16th 2019

with local supporters, referrers and media in

attendance. Beginning with two team members,

recruitment and training were vital to growing the

service and we welcomed an additional two people

to the team via remote interviews, induction and

training. This was great preparation for everything

becoming remote in 2020!

Cairns has seen a diverse group of women engage

with the program and is gaining recognition with

local referring services. The Centre has seen some

steady growth however it has been difficult to fully

assess the program due to the Christmas/New Year

closure and the impact of remote support in

response to the pandemic.

The success of Cairns so far has included learnings in

expanding interstate, identifying strong leadership

and adapting processes for geographical distance.

16


THE PANDEMIC IMPACT

Mid-March, as Australia began to respond to the

global covid-19 pandemic, The Babes Project made

the decision to pause all group activities and move

to phone appointments delivered from the centres,

while we assessed the risk and responded to

government guidelines. Coinciding with this, in

March we saw 12 babies born into The Babes Project

family - our biggest month to date!

Following a brief closure both in operations and to

new referrals, The Babes Project launched a full

remote support program. This was primarily run by

Centre Managers and a few key workers who were

resourced to continue client support from home

whilst maintaining all legal requirements. While faceto-face

engagement is always our ideal, this program

was well received and women reported feeling

supported and cared for during this time. It has been

clear that women have needed support more than

ever during this time.

From July 2019 to June 2020 The Babes Project:

- Worked with 147 women in our holistic

Perinatal Support Program

- Achieved our greatest capacity to date with

over 90 women receiving support via the

Perinatal Support Program in November

- Relaunched two updated workshops,

Antenatal Food and Nutrition, and Day With A

Newborn.

- Opened our first interstate centre! Hello

Cairns!

- Successfully adapted the Perinatal Support

Program for full remote delivery

In addition to the high impact on families who are

already vulnerable, the negative outcome of the

pandemic has been in the reduction in capacity to

support more women. Our adherence to ensuring

privacy and confidentiality for all clients limits the

number of people who can work with clients from

home. Therefore, while we could continue to work

with current women who were in the program, the

number of new referrals we could receive and the

ability to grow in capacity has been impacted.


BABES STATS

REFERRALS TO THE BABES PROJECT 2019/2020

WE RECEIVED 252 REFERRALS, RECEIVED FROM:

44% 40%

Referred by Self

Referred by Government

hospitals

11% 7% 6%

BABES FACT

———

The average age of

women referred to

us were at 20 weeks

gestation

Other organisations

Other (incl. friends/family)

PRIMARY REASON FOR REFERRALS:

97%

Antenatal Education

83%

Parenting Support

BABES FACT

———

48% of women

referred to the

program required

Labour Education!

73% 67%

18

At risk of isolation

Mental health support


WOMEN IN THE PERINATAL SUPPORT PROGRAM 2019/2020

42% 57% 20%

Were experiencing their

first pregnancy

Women were born outside

of Australia

5% 32% 7%

Women were Aboriginal

or Torres Strait Islander

Accessed our Incentive

Program

BABES FACT

———

147 women accessed

the full Perinatal

Support Program in

2019 - 2020

AGE OF WOMEN IN THE PROGRAM:

10% 53% 37%

Women in

their teens

Women 20-30

years

Women 30+

years

RISK FACTORS FACED BY WOMEN IN THE

PERINATAL EDUCATION PROGRAM:

85% 55% 14%

BABES FACT

———

On average we

worked with each

woman on a weekly

or fortnightly basis

for 12 months

History of mental

health concerns

History of drug

+ alcohol use

Currently experiencing

family violence

MOVEMENT (REDUCTION) OF CLIENT

COMPLEXITY BASED ON RISK ASSESSMENT:

(On intake and graduation, women’s “complex challenges” are

assessed and graded to ensure we have capacity to support

everyone adequately. Our goal is that women’s complexity

assessment reduces or at least stabilises.)

34% 4%

BABES FACT

———

On program intake

36% of women were

single, 64% were

partnered

a) reduction of one

complexity category

b) reduction of two

complexity categories

38% 45% 7%

Total % of reduction

(a+b)

Stabilised complexity

assessment (no movement)


OUR BABES BABIES 2019/2020

*

45 baby girls born

40 baby boys born

In the 2019 - 2020 FY we welcomed a

total of 85 babies into the Babes family.

BABY FACT

———

Our first Cairns baby

Sophie Rose born

09/10/2019 in time

for our Centre

opening on the 16th!

Four sets of twin girls were born in the

2019 - 2020 FY

Three sets for our Frankston Centre

One set for our Croydon Centre

* Number of babies born does not include women

already parenting or still pregnant at conclusion of

the financial year.

BABES FACT

———

Four sets of twin

girls in the

2019-2020 FY has

broken all previous

Babes twins records!

20


CROYDON CENTRE

Worked with … women in

the perinatal program

FRANKSTON

CENTRE

Worked with …

women in the

perinatal program

47 babies born 22 babies born

Out of the women

supported … were teens

Out of the women

supported … were

teens

CAIRNS CENTRE

Worked with … women in

the perinatal program

NATIONAL SUPPORT

Worked with …

women in the

perinatal program

8 babies born 8 babies norn

Out of the women

supported … were teens

Out of the women

supported … were

teens

OUR CENTRES AND SERVICES 2018/19

*

OUR CENTRES AND SERVICES 2019/2020

*

CROYDON CENTRE

Worked with 83 women in the

perinatal program

FRANKSTON CENTRE

Worked with 41 women in the

perinatal program

47 babies born 22 babies born

Out of the women supported 8%

were teens

Out of the women supported 17%

were teens

CAIRNS CENTRE

Worked with 9 women in the

perinatal program

NATIONAL SUPPORT

Worked with 12 women in the

perinatal program

8 babies born 8 babies born

* Number of babies born does not include women already parenting or still pregnant at

conclusion of the financial year.

21


BABES

GEOGRAPHICAL

STATS

VICTORIA CONTINUED

Mooroolbark 4

Mordialloc 2

Mornington 1

OUR GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATIONS

OF THE WOMEN WE HAVE

SUPPORTED

Here is a map of Australia highlighting

the states that the women accessing our

services reside.

The women we work with travel far and

wide to access perinatal support and our

reach continues to expand as we

become further known amongst

communities.

1

1

13

130

VICTORIA

Bayswater 4

Belgrave 2

Bentleigh East 1

Blind Bight VIC 1

Boronia 4

Broadmeadows 1

Brunswick East 1

Burwood 2

Carrum Downs 5

Cheltenham 1

Chirnside Park 1

Clematis VIC 1

Clyde North 1

Cockatoo VIC 1

Coldstream 1

Corio VIC 1

Cranbourne 4

Croydon 5

Dandenong 2

East Warburton 1

Emerald 1

Ferntree Gully 10

Fitzroy 1

Footscray 1

Frankston 10

Heathmont 1

Karingal 1

Kilmore VIC 1

KILSYTH 5

Knoxfield 2

Langwarrin 2

Lilydale 3

Lysterfield 1

Marysville 1

Mentone 1

Mitcham 1

Mt Eliza 2

Mt Martha 1

Niddrie VIC 1

Noble Park 1

Pakenham 1

Point Leo 1

Ringwood 3

Rosanna 1

Rosebud 1

Rowville 1

Safety Beach 2

Scoresby 1

Seaford 2

Seville 2

The Basin 1

Toorak 2

Upwey 1

Wantirna 5

Warranwood 3

Wendouree 1

Werribee 1

Wesburn 1

Williamstown North 2

Woori Yallock 1

Yarra Junction 1

NORTHERN TERITORY

Katherine 1

QUEENSLAND

Brinsmead 1

Capalaba 1

Machans Beach 1

Manoora 1

Manunda 2

Mt Gravatt 1

Ningi 1

Nundah 1

Smithfield 2

Woree 1

Yungaburra 1

22

Montrose 1

Moorabin 1

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Lathlain WA 1


THE HOSPITALS OUR SWEET

85 BABIES WERE BORN IN

VICTORIA

Angliss 26

Ballarat Base 1

Box Hill Hospital 9

Casey Hospital 1

Frankston Hospital 17

Mater Mother's 2

Mercy Hospital for Women 1

Monash Medical Centre 7

Royal Women's 3

Sandringham 3

The Northern 2

NT

Katherine Hospital 1

QLD

Bunderim Private Hospital 1

Cairns Base Hospital 8

Redlands Hospital 1

WA

King Edward hospital 1

India 1

THE COUNTRIES OUR WOMEN SUPPORTED WERE BORN IN

Australia 118

Bangladesh 1

Brazil 1

Canada 2

Chile 1

Colombia 2

England 1

Fiji 1

Germany 1

India 2

Iran 2

Ireland 1

Japan 1

New Zealand 1

PNG 1

Poland 1

South Africa 2

Sth Korea 1

Taiwan 1

UK 2

USA 3

23


EXPANDING TO

CAIRNS

CAIRNS MAMAS, YOU’RE NOT

ALONE

Blog post by Mary Bolling,

September 26, 2019

Ever had that feeling that there's still so far

to go?

It's 3000 km from Croydon to Cairns, and here at

Babes right now, we're feeling every step of the

journey!

No, of course we're not actually walking it - but

establishing a new centre feels like a marathon (one

of those ultra ones, through the deserts and for

days!)

And right now we're at that hardest last stretch,

where a helping hand can make all the difference.

Our crowdfund goal for opening The Babes Project

Cairns is getting closer - and we can make it, with

your incredible support.

Back in June (at our amazing 10th birthday!) we were

so excited to announce plans for our new centre in

Far North Queensland.

After nurturing Victorian mothers for a decade, we

know the transformative impact of our holistic

perinatal support, and we know that pregnant

women and new mamas doing it tough in Cairns are

crying out for that care.

But our decision to crowdfund to raise $68,000 in 34

days was always a big one - but necessary to ensure

we can open on 16 October 2019.

“From our very first months of operation, supporting

and empowering pregnant women and new mums,

Babes was hearing about the need for perinatal

support in communities right across Australia,” Ms

Parker says.

“We’ve seen again and again how holistic and

nurturing perinatal care can transform a woman’s

experience of early motherhood. New mums need

support to build confidence and skills for the

challenges ahead – and we’re so excited to offer that

to women in Cairns, too.”

Women across Far North Queensland will be able to

access the full program face-to-face at the Cairns

centre, at Shop 3, 21-23 Sheridan St, in the Cairns

CBD.

And so importantly, we've got experienced local

social worker Cristy Mock on board as centre

manager. As a former Cairns State High School

chaplain and a foster care support coordinator, she

knows the many challenges that women in the

region face, and she's got runs on the board walking

alongside them.

Just like our Victorian centres, The Babes Project

Cairns will also train local and committed volunteers

to deliver our perinatal program.

We've already had support for our Start Some Good

crowdfund pour in from across Australia, from so

many people who have seen the difference that

Babes makes. But there's a long way to go.

Ms Parker is confident in the generosity of so many

supporters, and said that the new centre would

ensure mums and bubs in Cairns could access the

best start possible.

In 2017, births to teen mothers in Cairns was at a

rate of 25.9 per 1000 births, ahead of 15.0

Queensland-wide, and 11.8 in Greater Brisbane.

One in four teen mums nationally identifies as

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, and community

agencies have called for more comprehensive

support for young mums.

“Negative attitudes around having children at a

young age, or without a partner, or in a range of

challenging situations, are often leaving women to

raise children alone and vulnerable – and that’s a bad

outcome for the mother, and for the baby,” Ms

Parker says.

“Isolation and overwhelm for new mothers is a

problem right across Australian communities, and

our program graduates are the thriving proof that

local, face-to-face, and independent support really

works to get new mums through tough times.”

If you want to transform lives for new mums and their

bubs, now is the time. Please support our Start Some

Good crowdfund, and please spread the word as far

and wide as you can (on Facebook or Instagram,

even!): Cairns mamas, we're on our way, and we're

ready to make a difference.

24


THANKS IS NOT ENOUGH

Blog post by Mary Bolling,

November 01, 2019

WOW.

There's not enough words to tell you how grateful

we are.

Our dream of The Babes Project Cairns has become

a reality - and it's because of our incredible,

generous and faithful Babes tribe.

Together, we raised a huge $68,573 to ensure that

our new Cairns centre not only opened, but it will

thrive.

We can say thank you a million times, but really, it's

the work that will speak the most.

Our founder and CEO Helen Parker travelled to

Cairns for the opening, with our world-changing

leadership team Emma Rowland, Bec Gerbert, and

Holly-Joy Petty.

On the ground, our new centre manager Cristy Mock

had been prepping for weeks.

Even before doors were officially open, Cristy has

been working with pregnant women, with The Babes

Project’s first Cairns baby Sophie Rose arriving for

mum Anita a week before the opening.

And the beautiful opening - with Cairns mamas,

bubs, supporters and health care workers - could not

have been more perfect.

Helen explains: "It was so emotional and such a

beautiful time. We took 150kg of Babes luggage... I

loved that all our Babes “stuff” was going to such a

new area. It felt like a whole lot of hope was on the

way!"

"We had so much interest from local frontline

workers, and from the media. Seeing Cristy do so

well under media pressure was wonderful, to see her

powerfully articulate the importance of Babes for

Cairns mamas."

Our new centre is on Sheridan St, and will initially be

open two days a week, with room to grow as

demand increased.

So many people thanked us so sincerely during that

first week of excitement, which followed our 34 day

crowdfund, and (appropriately!) nine huge months of

preparation.

So we say thank you, and believe us, we're already

working as hard as we can to show Cairns every

ounce of your generosity. We know it will deliver so

much, and help ensure so many new mamas are

supported and empowered for the journey ahead.

Just like you've supported and empowered us.



MEET MAMA ANITA

Can you tell us a little bit about why you came

to The Babes Project - what was happening in

your world when you fell pregnant with

Sophie?

I lost my son, Samuel, at 20 weeks and then fell

pregnant with Sophie three months later. My

mental health wasn't great and I needed extra

support.

Your daughter Sophie was our first Cairns

Babes baby and you had her just one week

before we opened our Centre. It was a really

special moment when you arrived at our Centre

with your little one week old baby girl. Can you

tell us a little about that and what it was like

meeting your daughter for the first time?

I didn't think it would ever happen. She was

everything I ever wanted. When everyone came

to see her, it was like a dream.

It's been a lot easier. When I don't know

something, there's always someone to ask. I

learned things that I didn't even know. The

support has been good for my mental health. If

I didn't have this help, I don't think my children

would be as happy and healthy as they are.

You've just recently had your sweet baby boy

Ryan...congrats! What does life look like right

now for you and what does the future look like

for you and your family?

Having two children now is a little hectic but I'm

looking forward to the future and watching

them grow with guidance from us.

Why do you feel support is important for new

mamas in Cairns?

It's not just Cairns but new mamas everywhere

need support!

What difference do you feel having The Babes

Project's support on your motherhood journey

has made for you?

27


WHERE ARE THEY

NOW?

THE BABES PROJECT 2020

PREPS!

In 2015 The Babes Project welcomed 30

sweet babies across our Croydon and

Frankston support centres. Five years on

and so many of the ones we used to hold

as babies are off on their first year of

primary school!

In January we were flooded with photos

our Babes babies dressed in their new

school uniforms, back packs too big for

them, and standing proudly as the

embark on this new adventure.

Here at The Babes Project we love to stay

in touch with our mamas and their

families beyond the perinatal period. We

are so proud and will continue to forever

be their cheerleaders.

Pictured on the top right is sweet Lexi,

and below is Skye. Congrats mamas!

28


My experience with The Babes Project has been

amazing. I’ve never felt more connected or

supported.

They’ve given me the confidence to go out and

get my first job and I’ve made some wonderful

friends that I will stay in connection with long after

my Babes journey has ended.

——

Graduated Frankston mama, December 2019


BABES OVERVIEW

The Babes Project is a family, a community of ladies who all look out for each other and have each

other’s backs. They let us mums know there is no wrong way to be a mum. They are there to

support us mums in many ways.

Graduated Frankston mama, November 2019


THE BABES TEAM

RECOGNISING OUR FABULOUS

PEOPLE

Blog post by Helen Parker

OAM, May 18, 2020

“Volunteerism is the voice of the people put into

action. These actions shape and mold the present

into a future of which we can all be proud.”

– Helen Dyer

There has never been any doubt here at The Babes

Project, that our power is in the people who give so

much time, passion and energy to care for some of

our communities vulnerable young families. Over the

years our Babes community has thrived because of

people who believe in the power of giving... and it is

remarkable to see.

They are not people with nothing better to do.

They are not people who are doing a few "free

hours" in the hope that it turns into a job.

They are not people who are waiting until they are

perfectly ready or qualified.

Our team is made up of 37 people who believe in

the power of saying "here I am, how can I help?"

They fill roles to ensure women get the vital support

they need when having a baby.

They have been willing to spend hours every year

training.

They have said no to other jobs or opportunities

because they believed in the impact of The Babes

Project.

They have committed to learning, growing and

working as a team.

And then they have showed up. Every week.

They have met with women and taught them,

celebrated with them, cried with them, been

confronted and challenged and yet they still turn up.

This week we celebrate you, dear friends... our

Babes team who show up. You are changing lives.

We are so grateful; you are the heroes of our

community. Thank you.

Happy National Volunteer Week!

31


GRANTS

32

THE BABES PROJECT

PERINATAL EDUCATION

PROGRAM

Funded by the Bank of

Melbourne Foundation

It has never been our desire to run “just another

program”. The Babes Project was created

intentionally as a positive space to engage with

women to support her on her motherhood journey,

helping her to access education, build healthy

relationships, address issues and plan for her future

as a mother in a safe and supported environment.

Over time, we have learnt a great deal about the

best ways to deliver perinatal (the period from

conception to baby turns one) support to vulnerable

women, and this has resulted in the development of

our Perinatal Education Program.

Funding from the Bank of Melbourne Foundation

allowed The Babes Project to finalise development

of our Perinatal Education Program to ensure the

women we work with have access to the very best

information about pregnancy, birth and parenting.

We know that women need a safe environment to

learn and ask questions, ensuring she has all the

necessary. information to keep herself and her baby

safe and healthy.

By delivering the new Perinatal Education Program

we are confident that participants are more prepared

for the realities of motherhood and that they know

what actions to take if they ever feel that extra help,

information or support is needed. This means that

the outcomes for her and her baby are greatly

improved.

A wonderful outcome has been hearing women

share that they remembered what they learnt from

the Perinatal Education Program whilst they were in

labour and that it helped them birth their baby.

We are thrilled that the Bank of Melbourne

Foundation made this possible and we now have an

excellent program that provides a consistent model

of care for all women seeking help through The

Babes Project . We look forward to increasing our

capacity to include many more young families in this

program.

“I felt really supported in The Babes Program - I

learnt about pregnancy and how to take care of

bubs. I feel much more aware about safety and those

things which are obviously really important. I’m able

to come home and tell my partner about them so I

feel a lot less nervous about it all. I had

overpowering anxiety about how things were going

to be but then Babes taught me about being a

mother.”

- Grace, Frankston Mama


PARTNERSHIPS

https://thetomco.com/2019/10/04/tbp-cairnsmamas/

OUR VERY OWN CHEER SQUAD

Everyone would love their own personal cheer

squad; Someone who backs them up, that cheers for

them, gives them advice, pushes them to reach their

goals and tells them to dream bigger! Well, here at

The Babes Project we are lucky enough to have our

very own! We call them our partners. Each of our

partners are just as passionate as us about

empowering and transforming the lives of vulnerable

pregnant women, new mamas and their families.

TOOSHIES BY TOM

Tooshies by TOM have had our back since 2018.

Both Tooshies by TOM and The Babes Project were

started by empowered women eager to make a

positive impact on the world. Since we partnered

with them they have donated a portion of their

profits to support our work and even provided their

planet friendly nappies and wipes for all our Babes

mamas.

Pictured above is the day Tooshies came to Babes in

November 2019, to see firsthand how we support

mamas, and how their products are helping provide

the vital material aid every new mama needs. Also in

packing Christmas boxes, nappy bags and ‘welcome

to motherhood’ mama baskets, we can see the

power in women coming together collectively to see

some of our most vulnerable supported - there is so

much power in this! We are so fortunate to have

Tooshies by TOM on our team.

MIRANDA MAYLE

They say a picture tells a thousand words, thankfully

The Babes Project has Photographer Miranda Mayle

on hand to capture our priceless Babes moments.

Miranda has helped in capturing so many emotional

stories from women in our community that otherwise

might not have been seen or heard. Having worked

with Miranda for many years now she's captured our

biggest achievements and she just gets us. She

understands the importance of our work and what

capturing these photos means to not only us but the

women we work with too. This 2019 - 2020 report

features some of our favourite captures of Mirandas.

GADENS LAWYERS

Providing us with all our legal support, Gadens

lawyers understand the importance of empowering

women during a crisis pregnancy. Having someone

to go to for specialised advice and guidance is vital

for us, just like it is for our women when they visit

The Babes Project. They believe in The Babes

Project and the impact we have on reducing the gap

in perinatal services. It’s this impact has helped drive

our commitment for supporting women in pregnancy

and early parenthood. Our shared passion for giving

back to the community means that they're always

cheering us on.

We are so grateful to have the support of like

minded organisations, who support and also believe

in the importance of empowering women to make

positive decisions about her future.

33


BABES MEDIA

BABES IN THE MEDIA

1. 29 Jul 2019 - 89.9 The Light, Helen Parker

OAM on supporting women through

pregnancy

6. 11 Nov 2019 - Biz Hub Maroondah, The

2019 Maroondah Business Excellence of

the Year award winners

2. 21 Sep 2019 - Yarra Ranges, Celebrating a

decade of Babes

3. 30 Sep 2019 - Cranbourne News, Kaci’s

mission to help charities

4. 17 Oct 2019 - Cairns Post, Far North Babies

to get a better start

7. 08 May 2020 - Herald Sun, Mother’s Day

2020 The Babes Project donates gifts to

needy new mums in Melbourne’s east

8. 26 Jun 2020 - Mirage News, Sixty-four

community organisations share in

$170,578 from Council’s Community

Grants Funding Program

5. 17 Oct-2019 - WIN TV Cairns, The Babes

Project launches in Cairns

34


BABES CAMPAIGNS

EQUIP A BABES MAMA

CAMPAIGN

Equip A Babes Mama is one of our favourite ways to

engage the Babes tribe in equipping the women in

our program with vital material support.

This campaign is open all year round and we always

receive a huge response. In the 2019 - 2020 financial

year we saw 56 nappy bags and 59 baskets pledged.

These numbers are lower than the last financial year,

with the impact of the pandemic heavily effecting

this opportunity for supporters to contribute.

We are always needing more nappy bags and new

mamas baskets for our Victorian and Queensland

mamas. Sign up to pack a Babes bag or Babes

basket today at: www.thebabesproject.com.au/

equip_a_babes_mama

CHRISTMAS LOVE CAMPAIGN

October - December, 2019

We continue to see our Christmas Love campaign

growing every year as more mamas access our

program. 2019 was also our first year we had Cairns

join in the Christmas fun!

In December 2019 we gave out 41 gift boxes for

Croydon and 23 gift boxes for Frankston. Plus, a

further seven gifts were given to brand new mamasto-be

who had just joined our Croydon program not

long before Christmas, four Cairns mamas received a

Christmas gift, along with gifts mailed to 11 mamas

in our National program.

This is such a sweet time of year and everyone can

be a part of it. Register your interest here:

www.thebabesproject.com.au/christmas_love and

we will let you know when the next Christmas Love

campaign is open. It’s the best time of year to think

about and give to the most vulnerable in our

community and who may not have much under the

tree.

35


BABES RESOURCES

AMIDST THE CRISIS, HELP US

WRITE A BETTER FUTURE

Blog post by Mary Bolling, May

13, 2020

Over the past ten years at The Babes Project, one of

the most important things we have learnt about

pregnancy and motherhood is that every family and

parenting story is unique.

And wow, hard to think of a tougher time to start

that story.

But even in the face of a global pandemic, brave

mamas continue to bring babies into this world - in

many cases, cut off from support, with birth-partners

shut out of the hospital, or even unable to hold their

newborn as hospitals enforce distancing for mums

who may be of carrying the virus.

Our hearts are breaking for so many new mums,

more isolated than ever by this crisis, and so many

other tough circumstances.

That's why we're working harder than ever - even as

our centres stay temporarily closed - to connect with

new mums, and make sure we can give them

support remotely.

And our mama-life journal is a new way that you can

help deliver that support.

A GIFT THAT KEEPS GIVING

Know a new mum, or someone who's about to be?

The Babes Project's mama-life journal is a gorgeous

way to get prepared and inspired for the

motherhood journey.

Created by our team, it will help a special mum to

record important moments, and make big plans.

Every beautiful page is thoughtfully designed, and

the content has already helped hundreds of mums in

our perinatal program to get ready for their little

person.

With prompts to design family values and traditions,

grow self-worth and self-care, and practice proactive

parenting, the mama-life journal has engaging and

support for every new mum.

And every purchase helps The Babes Project to

support more women through pregnancy and early

parenting, right across Australia.

The COVID-19 crisis has hit us hard here at Babes -

emotionally, and financially.

But with 100 per cent of sales of the mama-life

journal going straight back into our operations, this

is truly a gift that keeps on giving - for the mum who

receives it, and for countless women The Babes

Project will continue to support.

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MOTHERHOOD STORIES

WORTH TELLING, NO MATTER

WHAT THE PLAN

Blog post by Mary Bolling, June

01, 2020

“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes

mama with a baby carriage.”

Sound familiar? From our earliest days, we hear

there’s a “right” way to do motherhood. And even

today, plenty of people are still trying to tell women

all the ways we’re doing it wrong.

The Babes Project calls that out.

For more than a decade we’ve supported women

tackling new motherhood from every direction, and

facing every challenge imaginable.

And now, our podcast Not the Plan shares their crisis

stories – and ours – from first heart-wrenching

realisations, the overwhelm and elation of pregnancy

and birth, and through those tough newborn

trenches.

Our advice and stories come from our proven

perinatal support program, from experts across the

community and health care sectors, and most

importantly from women who have walked the walk.

The first episode of Not the Plan introduces The

Babes Project founder and CEO Helen Parker, and

her story of unplanned pregnancy aged just 20.

"Finding out I was pregnant was a really awful and

hard time... it was so many decisions that were going

to make such a big impact on my life, and so many

people's lives," Helen explains.

"That was the biggest thing, knowing I had to make

them alone, and make them with all the noise

around me (trying to tell me what to do.)"

Chatting with Babes team-mate Holly, Helen

also outlines the earliest beginnings of Babes - as

well as some of the tough situations that proved why

mums needed more support

Babes knows pregnancy and motherhood can be

crushingly hard no matter what our best plans – and

for too many women, the overwhelm and isolation

have lifelong repercussions.

With Not the Plan, we want to take on the big issues

for mums doing it tough, explore what approaches

can change the experience, to support happy

mamas and happy babies.

Not the Plan by The Babes Project is available

on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your

podcasts - we'd love you to listen, like and share

with other mamas who might need to hear it.

(And if you want to link them with some extra

support, don't forget our mama-life

journal is available in our shop now too!)

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BABES SUPPORTERS

OUR SUPPORTERS

There are countless ways that The Babes Project

transforms the lives of pregnant women doing it

tough – but the only way we can continue is by the

ongoing generosity of our donors.

It is this community of people around us who are

keeping our doors open – so that new mothers and

families can continue to grow and thrive with our

vital perinatal support.

600+ CLUB AND REGULAR

DONORS

Our donors who give regularly or $600 or more each

year are the lifeblood of The Babes Project. Their

generous giving ensures women in need have the

opportunity to be empowered and equipped for

pregnancy and parenting. The Babes Project 600+

Club is our most popular way of giving for donors.

By investing $50 or more per month, The Babes

Projects 600+ Club has become a strong tribe of

people passionate about doing more to help women

in pregnancy and early parenting. All regular donors

and 600+ Club members are contributing to ensure:

- A sustainable future enabling The Babes Project to

keep its doors open and focus on doing our vital

work!

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- Women have support. When a woman faces a

crisis pregnancy and parenting alone, it can be

overwhelming. Our donors are providing young

families with the resources they need to feel ready

to parent.

FOUNDATION SUPPORTERS

The Babes Project is currently seeking 20 committed

Foundation Supporters at each of our centres, to

cement our presence, and pave the way for future

growth. By pledging $5000 a year to support our

not-for-profit service, each Foundation Supporter will

help ensure basic operating costs are covered,

giving the Babes team the confidence to continue

bravely as we extend our reach.

We know that every woman needs access to support,

knowledge and empathy to thrive in her motherhood

– but too many face judgement, discouragement

and closed doors. With operating funds guaranteed,

each of our Pregnancy and Early Parenting Support

Centres can work with a minimum of 70 new mothers

every year. Know that you’re making an impact for

good, and commit to be one of The Babes Project’s

Foundation Supporters. As a Foundation Supporter,

you will be one of only 20 key advocates invited to

an annual roundtable at your local centre, which will

hear the successes and challenges currently faced,

and will seek your valuable input.


BABES SHOP

OUR MERCH, RESOURCES +

SCHOOL

Our shop continues to grow as we launched our new

project - Mama-life journal. With all proceeds going

directly back into seeing vulnerable women

supported, there’s no better way to be a part of this

feel good story!

Show your love today by purchasing a tee, onesie,

mug, magazine, book or our brand new Mama-life

journal!

Follow link below to view all of our products…they

make great gifts too!

www.thebabesproject.com.au/shop



MEET MAMA ZOE

Helen Parker sat down with our Babes mamato-be

Zoe in our Croydon centre, 10th March

2020.

How did you find out about The Babes

Project?

I was booked in at the Angliss for the first

appointment around twenty weeks or so. They

went over my past history of anxiety and

depression. I asked if there were any groups or

anyone I can talk to, because I didn’t really

have anyone, and then they referred me to

Babes.

What has it been like coming to The Babes

Project?

At my hospital appointments I was mostly

seeing doctors, I didn’t really see any

midwives. They just do the medical stuff and

don’t ask how you’re going. I was really sick

the whole pregnancy, I felt like no one really

cared. I was not feeling the best with anxiety, I

would mention it but they just would kind of

brush it off. Coming to Babes has been nice

because people care about you, the team

really want to know how I’m going, not just

checking the baby and then leaving. It’s just

nice to feel like someone cares.

What are you looking forward to about

motherhood?

Just having a little family. My partner and I, we

come from quite small families, so we’ve both

talked about wanting to have a bigger family.

We both had some issues with our childhood,

so we want to raise our family well and make

our world a happy and positive environment.

What would your advice be to women who

are feeling overwhelmed and unsupported?

I thought maybe a mums group started before

you have the baby, so you have people to talk

to, but that’s not the case. So try and find

support like The Babes Project!

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© The Babes Project Australia Ltd

CONTRIBUTORS

The Babes Project: Helen Parker, Mary Bolling,

Bec Gebert, Holly-Joy Petty, and Emma Rowland.

We would also like to thank everyone who shares

their voice in this report. Photography by Miranda

Mayle and some from the Babes archives.

All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may

be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or

transmitted in any form by any means without

written permission from the copyright holder.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure

accuracy, The Babes Project shall not have any

liability for errors or omissions. We do apologise

if anything appears incorrectly. It will be a

genuine mistake. Please contact

info@thebabesproject.com if you have any

corrections.

The names of certain individuals identified in this

publication may have been changed and last

names omitted.

For enquiries: info@thebabesproject.com

www.thebabesproject.com | 1300 140 212

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