Surestart Projects Celebration Event


A celebration event was held recently to congratulate four Surestart Projects in North and West Belfast who have been awarded the UNICEF Baby Friendly Status.

The four projects which were awarded this status were:

  • Smile Surestart
  • Glenbrook Surestart (BHSCT led projects)
  • Clanmor Surestart and
  • Shankill Surestart (community led projects).

This Award accredits maternity and community facilities that adopt internationally recognised standards of best practice in the care of mothers and babies. Facilities with full Baby Friendly accreditation have been externally assessed at each stage and this assessment is a rigorous procedure that ensures best practice standards are adopted. Accredited facilities must undergo repeat assessments every few years.

Acting Trust Chair Professor Eileen Evason addressed and audience of Trust staff alongside Surestart families and staff saying this was a ‘great achievement and these projects were making a real difference to children, and congratulated all those involved in the process’.

The Baby Friendly Initative

The UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative is an accreditation programme based on the Global WorldHealth Organization/UNICEF Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. The health and well-being of all babies is at the heart of the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative. A strong mother-baby relationship is the foundation for a baby’s future health and well-being, and breastfeeding supports this loving bond, making a vital difference to health.

UNICEF works with services, championing evidence-based practice to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding, and to strengthen mother baby and family relationships. We believe that support for these relationships is important for all babies, not only those who are breastfed.

The highly valued award of Baby Friendly accreditation is achieved through a rigorous external assessment process which gathers evidence that the standards have been implemented. To support effective implementation of the standards the assessment process is broken down into three stages; accreditation is achieved when all these stages are reached.

Pictured: Irene Cooke, Shankill Surestart Co-ordinator,  Professor Eileen Evason, Acting Chair, Marie Alexander, Mum, Cathy Crawford, Smile Surestart Co-ordinator, Caroline Milligan, Glenbrook Surestart co-ordinator.