International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since in the early 1900’s, and is growing annually from strength to strength. This year we would like to mark IWD with a celebration of the Doula UK Access Fund.
Doula UK itself began in 2001, as a network of doulas, run voluntarily by doulas. Our first ever meeting of doulas from around the UK took place in London in February 2001 and in April that year, the organisation was born, funded by voluntary donations. Since that time our network has steadily grown and we now have 640 members, who are all working doulas in the UK, helping thousands of women and their families every year.
Evidence shows that there are tangible benefits to having a doula, such as the reduced risk of caesarean birth, less use of epidural and higher rates of establishment of breastfeeding.
Knowing the positive impact doulas can have in the perinatal year, we are committed to providing more and more women with doula services, through our well established Access Fund.
The Access Fund covers the expenses of Doula UK doulas volunteering to work with local clients in financial hardship, or women referred by our charitable partners, (such as women’s refuges), to ensure vulnerable women are supported as they become mothers.
In 2015 the Access Fund made it possible for ninety women to experience the invaluable support of a doula. Looking ahead, we want to help many more women and their families, because we believe that all women should have access to the services of a doula.
On this auspicious day for women, we welcome donations to the Access Fund, and leave you with a testimonial from a recent Access Fund client;
My pregnancy was spent in a mixed homeless hostel with people battling addictions and mental health issues, although I had support workers, and professional help I felt scared and like a patient. The Access Fund was a lifeline to me providing emotional support and lots of practical information about looking after a baby, and empowering me through a birthing experience which was traumatic, and difficult nursing. It was life changing to feel that someone was on my side and helping me as an individual rather than a medical charge.