People will think this comment silly and possibly lacking in political punch, but I was struck today by something my wife told me about the mother and baby group that meets in our village.
Now having only lived here for about three years we do not have any "local" friends. I have lots of family who live just two miles away and we have lots of friends who live about three miles away, but locally we know very few people. So going to mother and baby group has been a good way for my wife to make some local friends who have children of a similar age. As a result of this my wife now knows people, we have both got to know new people and we feel more part of the community and more involved in what is going on.
So what's the problem ? Well the mother and baby group is only for mothers who have their "first" baby. Yes, if you are new to the area and are having another child, you are not welcome at mother and baby group.
I appreciate that the mother and baby group is put on by the health visitors and it is therefore an NHS thing, but why isn't it used as a way of involving all mothers (and fathers) and anyone who has a baby, not just a first.
If we were new to the area and we were having a second child the message would be "Don't come here expecting to make friends".
Sadly it is a case of non joined up thinking and is an example of how all governments seem to see the value of community.