Debbie Abbott – Volunteer of the Year

At the end of September 2017, the St Neots Awards recognised a number of local individuals and community groups for their positive impact and achievements. We’ve been on a journey to follow them over the past six months, finding out more about them and to seeing how things have evolved since their awards recognition. This will be the last article in our current series, with more exciting ideas and plans arranged for the coming months.

The winner of our 2017 Volunteer of the Year award was Debbie Abbott, an Infant Feeding Specialist Midwife at Hinchingbrooke Hospital; who additionally volunteers as a Breastfeeding Counsellor in her free time. Volunteering for the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (ABM) allows Debbie to support new mothers struggling to breastfeed with additional advice and assistance; a voluntary role she has undertaken for the last 15 years. Debbie also runs a weekly drop in clinic at Eaton Socon Children’s Centre supporting mothers in the local community and those who travel from as far afield as Ramsey and Cambridge City Centre.

Debbie decided to become a breastfeeding counsellor after she had her first son who will be 34 this year. Debbie herself spoke with a lovely breastfeeding counsellor on the phone who reassured and empowered her to continue breastfeeding. This call inspired Debbie and made her want to be able to do the same for other mothers in the same position as she was.

Debbie additionally conducts home visits within St Neots and also provides assistance day and night via telephone to mothers facing challenges with breastfeeding. Debbie has been described as being “incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about supporting breastfeeding mothers”.

Debbie doesn’t have any plans to stop doing either of her roles in the near future as she loves them both. In her role as an Infant Feeding Specialist Midwife, Debbie is proud to announce that the maternity unit at Hinchingbrooke has just been awarded the very prestigious Baby Friendly Accreditation which recognises best practice standards related to infant feeding. This is a world renowned award supported by UNICEF that Debbie and her team have been working towards for the past seven years.

Debbie was credited at the 2017 St Neots Awards for supporting hundreds of local mothers over the last 15 years. Motherhood can be difficult journey for some and having experienced individuals like Debbie on hand in the local community helps to make that journey less stressful for those who may need some extra support. One local mother said: “we are so lucky to have Debbie’s guidance and continuing support within our community. Debbie has been the go-to person for breastfeeding support and advice amongst countless mothers in St Neots.”

Speaking about winning the St Neots Awards and what 2018 holds for her, Debbie Abbott said: “I still can’t believe that firstly I was nominated and secondly was selected as the winner, it makes me feel so very proud every time I think about it. The lovely testimonials that mothers took the time to write really touched my heart and some even made me cry! 2018 will see me continue to offer local mothers support in whatever way I can.”

Debbie’s drop-in sessions run weekly at Eaton Socon Children’s Centre from 11:30-13:00 on Tuesdays. Additionally, sessions also run at the centre on the second and fourth Thursday of every month from 9:30-11:30. Find out more here.

St Neots Awards will make a welcome return to the town in 2019.