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Cheshire and Merseyside Women’s and Children’s Services – Next steps

The Improving Me Cheshire and Merseyside Women’s and Children’s Services Partnership – a collaborative of 27 NHS organisations aiming to improve health outcomes for women, children and families – has moved into the next phase of its engagement agenda.

Since its launch in 2015, the Improving Me programme has supported clinical experts across Cheshire and Merseyside create closer links to communities – with the aim of ensuring that people’s health can be supported alongside (rather than separate to) their wider wellbeing needs.

This focus on truly person-centred care has supported a culture change across local maternity, gynaecology, paediatrics and neonatal services. Key community-focused developments such as the introduction of Maternity Voice Partnerships, community hub creation and enhancement and dedicated social prescribing roles have led to a new way of working for health care teams across Cheshire and Merseyside – driven by the voice of local families.

Change to Baby Box programme

Part of the Improving Me partnership’s commitment to developing more community-focused services has been its pilot Baby Box programme. Since 2017, all new mothers across Cheshire and Merseyside have been offered a free Baby Box as part of their antenatal maternity care.

Aiming to improve family engagement and education throughout the maternity journey, the Baby Box offer also includes access to a host of clinically-led online resources via the Baby Box University.

Throughout the period of the pilot, Baby Boxes have been given free to all new mothers and families by local providers of maternity services as part of their specified maternity package.

However, following a recent change to terms and conditions from supplier The Baby Box Co., Baby Boxes will no longer be able to be provided for free.

Families will still be able to access a Baby Box outside of their local maternity package offer, for a shipping and delivery fee. For further information visit

Catherine McClennan, Improving Me Programme Director, said: “The main aim of the pilot was to support our wider commitment to increasing engagement with families and services and improve access to support, which has involved numerous initiatives.

“Baby Boxes have played a key role in transforming the way we support women and families across our communities, and have helped pave the way for the enormous steps we’ve taken to improving experiences and outcomes.

“The way we involve women and families across Cheshire and Merseyside in their health services has transformed in recent years, and continuing this momentum is our key priority as we enter into our next phase.

“I’d like to thank everyone who supported the Baby Box programme throughout its pilot, particularly our workforce who embraced it so positively and of course our local women and families for inspiring us every day.”

Jennifer Clary, Co-Founder of the Baby Box Co., added, “The Baby Box Co has very much enjoyed its collaboration with NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Women’s and Children’s Partnership and looks forward to providing continued free educational support to all families in these communities at Unfortunately, Baby Boxes—which are sized akin to traditional bassinets—are simply too large for our company to continue providing inclusive of distribution cost. So while parents are still able to receive a free Baby Box product via our popular Safe Sleep course, the delivery expense is no longer included. Our educational platform is certainly richer for having partnered with this incredible, passionate group of community healthcare experts. We will continue to share their organisation’s recommendations with families throughout the UK.”

What next?

While Baby Boxes will no longer be distributed as part of the antenatal pathway across Cheshire and Merseyside, access to the locally-tailored Baby Box University online resources – providing consistent and equitable access to key health and education resources will remain free to access for all mothers and families.

For more information visit

If you have any questions about what to expect during your (or a loved one’s) pregnancy experience, please contact your local provider of maternity services.