Charlotte Macken

Finalist’s blog #2: Fit 4 Mums and Families

Families Included Prize finalists Parents 1st talk about their experience of piloting their idea, how it helped the mums involved and the new skills the Parents 1st team had to learn.   


Well it’s time for the final blog, and there is lots to convey, our pilot Fit 4 Mums and Families eight-week course has run smoothly and is now completed, it went very quickly seemed like we had only just started and it had come to an end.

We had eight mums and their babies attending every week, at first they were tentative, not sure who was going to be exercising with them and what to expect.

Friendships formed & confidence gained

However this soon disappeared as the groups’ confidence rose and they began sharing their personal birthing experiences and the trials of being a new mum. Soon natural friendships were being made and you would hear them talking about meeting up during the week and continuing their relationships outside of the class, this is exactly what one of our aims was and it was very rewarding to see these relationships form.

Our exercise class gave women the opportunity to bond and support one another because of shared experience, not only did the women feel fitter, stronger and healthier after the class, they also felt that they had gained friends. In fact, they have decided to carry on meeting up every Thursday and plan some activities together the first being a Christmas lunch.

We used the amazing opportunity that the Essex Prize Challenge gave us to canvas the views of those coming to the sessions to see how we could make them the best possible experience for all concerned. The overriding feedback was how valuable it was for the mums to be able to meet other new mums and make friendships while getting fitter and feeling they were recovering from the birth of their babies.

Sharing mums’ experiences

One brave lady has written up her story so we have a personal case study showing us what she has gained from coming to the sessions.

We decided that the best way to convey the experience that the mums’ have had was to video them in action and hear their views, this was a new thing for us, none of us at Parent 1st are IT experts so it was quite challenging reviewing and cutting the footage so it captured the essence of what the classes meant to those using them.

We also had to make sure we had all the right permissions in place, to ensure that everyone was happy to consent to their images and voices being used, for the purpose of collating evidence and feedback for the Essex Prize Challenge. The group seems to be very pleased to take part in this and have the opportunity to influence classes going forward was very exciting for them as they could shape things to come for others.

Looking ahead

We are looking forward to getting our business case finalised ready for submission and then we will be putting all our energy into our presentation on January 31.



This is one of blogs written by the Families Included Prize finalists. Click here to find out what other finalists are up to.

The Families Included Prize is the first time a challenge prize has been run by a county council in the UK. Essex County Council is working with Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, to develop and deliver this exciting new way for the Council to engage local communities, as well as discover and support great solutions.

For more information about the Families Included Prize, visit:, and follow #FamiliesIncluded on Twitter.