Breast is best awards

Middleton Grange Shopping Centre Manager Mark Rycraft receives the Gold Award from Annie Wallace.
Middleton Grange Shopping Centre Manager Mark Rycraft receives the Gold Award from Annie Wallace.

TWO organisations have been given top honours for their commitment to breastfeeding.

Hartlepool Families First and Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, have both received a Gold Hartlepool Breastfeeding Welcome Award.

Hartlepool Families First Project Leader Nicola Thompson (left) accepts the Gold Award from Annie Wallace, watched by other members of the Hartlepool Families First team.

Hartlepool Families First Project Leader Nicola Thompson (left) accepts the Gold Award from Annie Wallace, watched by other members of the Hartlepool Families First team.

The three-tier accolade is run by Hartlepool Borough Council in conjunction with NHS Hartlepool and rewards businesses and organisations which encourage breastfeeding on their premises by offering private baby feeding spaces and displaying stickers welcoming breastfeeding.

The award organisers are keen to see others follow the lead of these two organisations with Hartlepool currently having one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country, with less than half of new mothers using that method compared with a national average of over 70 per cent.

Annie Wallace, the council’s breastfeeding co-ordinator, said: “Congratulations to Hartlepool Families First and Middleton Grange Shopping Centre on becoming among the first organisations in the town to gain the Gold Award - we hope that many others will follow suit.”

Paul Thompson, manager of Hartlepool Families First, based at Café One77, in York Road, said: “We would like to see every organisation in Hartlepool gain this award to show that breastfeeding isn’t regarded as a taboo and is something natural that people are not embarrassed by.”

Mark Rycraft, Middleton Grange Shopping Centre Manager, said: “This award demonstrates that we are an open-minded and accessible shopping centre and it is something which will mean a lot to mums who breastfeed.”