Five years after launching a successful community project for young mums with babies under a year old, as well as for mums-to-be, the Norwich ‘Olive Leaf’ team is expanding its services. Mike Wiltshire reports.
In April the service will be extended to Hayman Lodge
, a modern community centre set in 70-acres of rural woodland at Catton Park
, two miles north of the city centre.
The project is the vision of Janet Brenkley
, has organised a Mother’s Day fun event at the timber-framed lodge to launch the new sessions.
One of the distinctives of Olive Leaf, which was originally a mostly church-based service, is to provide a venue where young mums who may feel vulnerable “can find a real welcome and never be left alone, by offering ideas to help them stay happy, well and healthy,” says Janet.
The sessions at Hayman Lodge will run on Tuesdays from 10.30am to 12.30pm.
Olive Leaf calls on the help of volunteers and professionals who are experienced mothers. The team, with a strong Christian ethos, networks with agencies and authorities, to help meet the needs of young mothers and expectant mums whether they are homeless, unemployed, fighting addiction, without parental support or just wanting a helping hand.
Janet, who is an energetic grandmother and a former lecturer in sociology, hopes to develop special sessions for adults with parents with children up to teenage years.
Ultimately, she would like to arrange practical and inspirational sessions aimed at men and women where they can develop their potential and share their talents in many areas ranging from home decorating and environmental walks to crafts and keep-fit sessions.
“Many people wonder if they are getting enough out of life, so we aim to be good neighbours and inspire others,” says Janet. As a committed Christian, she is fond of the phrase: “I’m not afraid of tomorrow because I know God is already there.”
For more information on Olive Leaf, email or firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 01603 471 067
Pictured above is Janet Brenkley.