Norfolk charity appeals for help to support young parents
Expecting your first child can bring untold joy and excitement to anticipating parents.
But for some young mums and dads-to-be the realisation they are bringing a new life into the world can also spell anxiety, worry and concern.
For expectant teens in Norfolk however, help is on hand from charity Embrace, which guides new parents through the maze of responsibilities and practical pressures they will face when baby comes along.
Since 2001 the group has supported hundreds of youngsters throughout the county in coping with their first few months as parents, but its valuable work is now being threatened by funding difficulties and it is calling on the public for help after launching its Christmas appeal.
Through its team of seven support workers, the charity provides one-to -one guidance, home visits, advice and long-term support to mums aged 19 and under and dads 25 and under.
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Their work can include helping youngsters navigate the benefits system and source better accommodation, but they also build their confidence as parents and help them realise their long-term goals, such as getting back into education or starting work.
Cindee Crehan, Embrace manager, said: 'We work with young people that probably have more complex needs and are not well supported by their family and will perhaps struggle to link into existing provision.
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'We try and show them they have got the potential and skills to do all these things by themselves but recognise they need a bit of a helping hand.
'These are teenagers; for the majority this is the first occasion they're living on their own and we're trying to reduce some of the hurdles for them.'
Embrace is currently supporting 77 young people from its bases in King's Lynn, Attleborough and Norwich with a further 40 waiting to join its list.
Last year Embrace was saved from closure after being taken over by respite charity Break and now works under its umbrella. Break has also been supporting the charity financially but Ms Crehan warned she did not know how long the funding could continue.
She said: 'Break is picking up a very large deficit for us; certainly if we hadn't come in with them we would have closed.
'They have made a commitment to funding the deficit but the reality is it's a big deficit and we really need the help.'
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/BreakChristmasAppeal
For a postal copy of the appeal, email firstname.lastname@example.org