Yesterday I received this message from a Twitter friend called Zoe
@pracperfectmums hello! Hope you’re well. Do you know of any groups for Mum’s new to Portishead? Finding all a little ‘clicky’ at the mo…
Do you ever feel isolated? Like all the other parents know each other, while you are on the outside looking in?
I remember feeling like this when I first moved from central Bristol to Portishead. Although I only moved a short distance, Portishead was a whole new community and I knew no other local Mums. In those days the Health Visitors hosted ‘Welcome to the area’ meetings, but it was quite a few months before I received an invite to one. Of course Practically Perfect Mums didn’t exist then either, so I phoned round to seek out some groups to join. I started attending the NCT group and found some friendly faces but at the end of each week’s session my 1 year old and I were on our own again. After a few weeks one friendly Mum invited my son and I round for a play and from there I was eased into a whole new community. But those few weeks of solitude were really tough.
If you ever find yourself feeling lonely, help may be at hand from local Mum Zoe Chalk. This is her story
We moved to Portishead at the end of the summer when our daughter, Martha, was nearly one. We felt that Portishead offered a great deal to families and that we could achieve a good lifestyle here. We’d moved from Central Bristol, not far in distance, but far enough to feel a bit isolated.
As soon as we settled in my daughter and I started to explore the local area in search of parks, other than the Lake Grounds, and other places we could walk to and explore. It proved rather tricky to find any information at all. The Library provided a cycling routes map and a couple of classes, but nothing else. I stumbled upon the youth centre completely by chance and saw a leaflet for the Practically Perfect Mums’ website – Hurrah, at last I was able to find out information about what was going on.
We started a couple of classes and these are great. We have a chat about the children and share what they do in the class, but asking another Mum for a coffee feels a little like asking to go out on a first date! On top of that a lot of Mum’s seem to know each other already whether through their ante natal or their older children at pre- school or school. I realised that I was missing the ‘baby’ friends I’d made in Bristol at my ante natal classes and at NCT, the sort of friends that you could bump into in the coffee shop or Waitrose and have a natter. In fact, when I go to Costa it seems packed full of Mums and babies who know each other and seem to be having a great time. When Martha and I fancy a quick walk round the harbour-side it would be great to have someone to call and go with. I miss just stopping on the High Street and saying hello to some familiar faces.
Jane had already helped me find a babysitter through Practically Perfect Mums, so I contacted her again in my search for a ‘New to Portishead Group’. She mentioned the Health Visitors get togethers which she had attended, but we soon discovered that due to the huge expansion of newcomers to Portishead it had become impossible for them to keep the meetings going.
A few minutes later, another message arrived from Zoe
@Pracperfectmums maybe I could set one up? X
So yesterday after batting some ideas back and forth Zoe decided to start ‘Portishead New Faces’. I really liked the idea and suggested opening the group up to any local parents feeling a bit isolated and in need of meeting some new people, perhaps when a second child comes along. Zoe will certainly have the support of Practically Perfect Mums.
The plan is to have a monthly coffee morning on the first Friday of each month where people can just pop in. The first meeting will be held at Portishead Youth Centre on Friday 1st Feb from 10.30am. The Youth Centre think it’s a brilliant idea and would also like to work together with us in hosting the coffee mornings. They are planning to section off an area for us and the café staff will be prepared for the event with homemade cake!
For now, anyone who is interested can post onto our Facebook page. Dates, times and venues will also be confirmed here on our calender of events. Zoe eventually aims to have an email contact list too, so that everyone can keep in touch and arrange walks, activities, play dates, coffee, wine, cake, whatever.
What do you think of this idea – would it be helpful? Would you like to join in with a meet up? Do you have any other suggestions?
Please let us know in the comments section below, over on Facebook or email Zoe on email@example.com