Project information

Birth Companions

Birth Companions is a small, unique charity providing support and care to vulnerable pregnant women and women with new babies who would otherwise be alone and isolated at one of the most important times of their lives – becoming a mother.


Charity information

Birth Companions

Birth Companions logo
  • Need


    We support vulnerable pregnant women and new mothers in prison and the community. The women we work with face a range of difficulties including domestic and sexual violence, trafficking, mental health issues, drug and alcohol problems, and housing issues. Many are refugees and asylum seekers. What they have in common is isolation and lack of support which can make being pregnant and having a new baby a time of anxiety and stress instead of the special, happy experience it should be.


    Being pregnant, giving birth and becoming a mother is a life-changing time for a woman. The flexible, compassionate services we offer to women facing severe disadvantage help them feel more positive about themselves as mothers. Practical and emotional support provides them with a strong basis for parenting, enabling them to give their babies a better start in life.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Improve the mental health and well-being of vulnerable pregnant women and new mothers.


    » We offer emotional and practical support to women during the perinatal period through work with groups and individuals in the community and in prison.

    We gather feedback from the women we work with and ask them to tell us how our support has impacted on their wellbeing and mental health.

    Aim 2

    Reduce the isolation of vulnerable pregnant women and new mothers.


    » We help women access local support networks and facilitate peer support in our groups.

    We ask the women we work with to tell us about whether they feel our support has helped them to access services, local support networks and the support of other mothers.

    Aim 3

    Enable vulnerable pregnant women & new mothers to give their babies the best possible start in life.


    » We provide vital practical items and give women evidence-based information so they can make positive, informed choices for themselves and their babies

    We regularly commission external evaluations of our services to ensure they are effective and meet the needs of the women and babies we work with.

    Aim 4

    Improve conditions for vulnerable pregnant women and new mothers as widely as possible.


    » We commission research to build the evidence base for this area of work, and use our expertise to influence policy and practice.

    We take part in and commission research and developing guidelines and training for the care of pregnant women and new mothers in prison. We network to share our expertise.

  • Impact


    In the long term we will improve the mental health and wellbeing of vulnerable pregnant women and new mothers, reduce their isolation, and enable them to give their babies the best possible start in life. We aim to improve conditions for pregnant women and new mothers in prison and the community. We gather feedback from the women we work with, and regularly commission research and external evaluations of our work.


    Loss of funding would prevent us from supporting vulnerable women. Robust accounting and budgeting, and active fundraising throughout the year ensures we have the funds to continue to offer our services. All our volunteers undergo extensive training to ensure they can offer appropriate and sensitive support.


    Our annual reports include detailed statistics about the support we have provided with case studies and feedback from the women themselves.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £287,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £180,000 Staff and Volunteers Direct work with vulnerable pregnant women, salaries, training and supervision
      £14,500 Admin and Governance Admin, finance, insurance, strategic planning and consultancy
      £40,000 Projects Pilot projects in new areas
      £14,500 Research Research projects, evaluation, Service User Involvement
      £38,000 Service User Involvment Service user consultation and peer support training

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Lankelly Chase Foundation £33,000 Guaranteed
    Big Lottery Reaching Communities £38,000 Guaranteed
    Esmee Fairbarin Foundation £7,500 Guaranteed
    Henry Smith Charity £25,000 Guaranteed
    The Rayne Foundation £15,000 Guaranteed
    Tampon Tax Fund £90,000 Guaranteed
    Noel Buxton Trust £4,000 Guaranteed
    Big Lottery Women and Girls Initiative £100,000 Guaranteed
    Cambridgeshire Community Foundation £4,000 Guaranteed
    Joyce Green Association £2,237 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Greater London


    We work with some of the most vulnerable pregnant women and new mothers in prison and in the community in London and Peterborough. They face many difficulties such as domestic violence, homelessness, experience of torture, trafficking and sexual violence mental and physical health issues, problems with drugs or alcohol. Many of them are alone and have no one to turn to for support.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Birth Companions offer a unique service that is flexible, and responsive to individual women's needs. Providing specialist support for 20 years has given us real expertise in working with vulnerable women at this key time in their lives. We are one of the only organisations offering support to women who are separating from their babies after birth. We recently produced our Birth Charter, a set of recommendations to improve the care of pregnant women and new mothers in prison.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Naomi Delap (Director)

    Runs the charity on a day to day basis, includes fundraising, managing staff and strategic planning.

    Denise Marshall (Group Co-Ordinator)

    Oversees all our service delivery, managing volunteers who support women.

    Helen Benson (Community Link Co-Ordinator)

    Coordinates support to vulnerable women in the community in London

    Abbi Ayers

    Prison Coordinator and Breastfeeding supporter

They helped me focus on my baby and the fact that I’m pregnant even though I’m in prison

Helen, Service User