PACT (Parents and Communities Together) is an early intervention project that provides support and information for pregnant mothers and their infants. Citizens-UK, the largest community organising charity in the UK, formed an initial alliance with local civic and statutory institutions including faith-based groups, children’s centres, and primary schools. Together with input from clinicians in maternity and psychology services at King’s Health Partners, PACT was created.
Social inequality and adversity have long-term effects on child development beginning in utero, due to a combination of developmental factors including nutrition, isolation, parental stress, access to services, and parenting environment.
Recent reports suggest that increasing social support for parents within communities is the most effective way to alleviate the aforementioned mediating factors leading to poor outcomes in children.
PACT applies developmental health science through co-produced community organizing in order to improve outcomes for the next generation, and offers a universal intervention throughout the social gradient.
A pilot study in 2013 led to the formation of PACT’S two groups, Mumspace and Parent University, which address the needs of local mothers in terms of social support and health education.
Over 300 parents have attended since the groups were started, and many take on roles as volunteers, group facilitators, and “Parent Champions” where they involve and support new mothers, as well as leading workshops.