Giving Compass' Take:

• In this Q&A, Vicky Fobel, public affairs and campaigns manager at NCT, discusses how philanthropy can bolster maternity services and help organizations adapt during COVID-19. 

• How can donors help with access to health services? What is the most significant barrier for expectant mothers during this time?

• Understand the risks for pregnant women during COVID-19. 

In this case study, our Systems Change Principal, Seth Reynolds, interviews (virtually) Vicky Fobel, Public Affairs and Campaigns Manager at NCT, to learn how they’re adapting and what philanthropists can do to help parenting charities.

How are your beneficiaries affected by Covid-19?

Social distancing and overwhelmed health services are compounding the already huge challenges of pregnancy and the postnatal period. Expectant and new parents are gravely concerned about missing out on support during pregnancy, the safety of giving birth in hospital, catching coronavirus whilst breastfeeding, or being asked to leave hospital before they are ready.

Restrictions on daily life are felt hardest by people who are already vulnerable. NCT’s peer-support projects support parents with challenging home lives, many of whom are single, do not have English as a first language or have no family close by. Many do not have access to online resources or smartphones. These families are often isolated. They may have mental health problems. Lack of digital makes social distancing even more difficult.

How can philanthropists help? Both now and in the long-term? 

  • Funding – The biggest challenge is income. The massive shock to income has made service-delivery unsustainable. Staff and services are being cut back by 70-80%.
  • Digital resources for beneficiaries – The most vulnerable beneficiaries are those most likely to be excluded by the digital delivery model, which are only accessible by families who have regular and stable access to digital devices and the internet.
  • Marketing and communications – Online services and virtual groups appear to be more difficult to promote to new audiences, as it is harder to understand the benefits of an unfamiliar delivery model. Similarly, communicating with local hospital trusts is difficult, which makes offering our live online courses to commissioners very resource intensive.

Read the full article about helping maternity services adapt by Seth Reynolds at NPC.