‘My manager’s encouragement made this charity a reality’

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Elaine Edwards started work as a cashier in our Accrington branch in 1999. She remembers a lovely team and managers who wanted her to succeed. With their encouragement, she juggled work and being a single mum to qualify as a mortgage advisor.

“ ‘I was very happy, they really wanted people to develop and move their careers forward. I’d recommend working in a branch to anyone’. ”

It was when Elaine was on maternity leave with her second child that her life took a different turn. A chance encounter with other mums chatting about the problems they were having with breastfeeding was the spark that ignited an idea. ‘I realised new mums needed easier access to help and advice on feeding. It’s when your baby is screaming at 2am that you really need someone to talk to. ‘My manager picked up on my passion for providing this service and made me the most amazing offer. She said, “take a career break and see if you can get it off the ground. I’ll keep your job open for you for two years.” Having that safety net gave me the courage to make the leap and Families and Babies was born.’

It started small but today the charity has grown and spread. They’ve tendered for and won the contracts to provide breastfeeding support across the North-West, in Lancashire, Preston and Ormskirk as well as Greater Manchester. By complete coincidence, they have also started-up in areas near Nationwide administration centres, in Wakefield and Bournemouth.

Their most recent venture is a drop-in centre in Bolton providing support on mental health and wellbeing for the whole family.

Elaine and her team work tirelessly to improve people’s lives so it’s humbling that her closing remark is, ‘A big thank you to Nationwide for making it possible’.

Elaine Edwards

Pictured above, Elaine Edwards