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Alice Wilkinson (pictured above, right) has been announced winner of the early years category at Bradford’s Community Stars Awards 2017. This special award, supported by Better Start Bradford, recognises volunteers who give their own time to support families in getting children off to the best possible start in life in the Better Start Bradford area (Little Horton, Bowling and Barkerend and Bradford Moor wards).

Alice designed a ‘breastfeeding box’ to encourage mums to breastfeed. The box contains practical things such as a fridge magnet with storage times for breast milk on it and some breast milk bags. It also contains a hot chocolate and a biscuit to remind mums to think of themselves by having a reward – just one example of her creativity.

On receiving the award from Lord Mayor, Abid Hussain, she said: “I’m completely speechless. I didn’t expect to win and was just hoping it would raise awareness.”

Alice plans to keep developing the box and hopes it will be distributed across other areas in Bradford. She advised other people who have an idea to: “Just do it – there is nothing to lose. Even if you end up only helping one person, it’s worth it!”

Two other nominees were highly commended at the event:

Bumps and Babes is a group for refugees and asylum seekers who are pregnant or have young children. It offers a social network for the women who can then offer support to one another. The meetings include times for children to play together with singing, story time and crafts. The group offers a welcoming space away from ‘professionals’. It allows women to seek support from each other and make new friends.

Baby Basics is a volunteer-run service providing women in the local area with the essential equipment needed to take care of their new baby. The women are vulnerable and often living in difficult circumstances. Without this service, some families would struggle to provide a safe place for their baby to sleep or provide suitable clothes for their baby.

The Community Stars Awards is a partnership between the Telegraph and Argus, Bradford Council and the community campaign ‘People Can Make a Difference’: www.peoplecanbradforddistrict.org.uk

The early years award category, supported by Better Start Bradford, recognises a person or group:

If you are interested in volunteering with Better Start Bradford you can find out more about the opportunities available here: https://betterstartbradford.org.uk/volunteer/