A BOLTON charity which supports breastfeeding has opened its own tea shop to provide a place for mothers to meet.

Families & Babies, based in Tonge Moor Road, had a VIP to perform the official opening ceremony – the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester Diane Hawkins.

The charity was created by Elaine Edwards, now chair of trustees, in 2004 when she had a difficult start to breastfeeding her daughter.

She went to a local Sure Start Centre for help and there met other mums in a similar position.

Together, they realised the power of mothers supporting each other and created local support networks.

Elaine told The Bolton News: “Before lockdown, we were finding that mums would come into our charity shop sometimes just for a chat or some advice on breastfeeding as some of our volunteers are breastfeeding Peer Supporters.”

“We decided to turn one of the rooms within the building into a tea shop and offer sandwiches, homemade cakes, snacks and soups for sale.

“It has been very well received and already we have a mums’ and babies’ group.”

Mrs Hawkins was impressed with the new facility and said she was “delighted” to launch the venture which “supported the charity’s amazing achievements.”

She added: “Their shops and e-Bay site raise funds to support all that they do and the tea shop is a welcome drop-in centre for anyone, whether a new mum seeking support or older people looking for a friendly welcome, a cuppa and some cake.

“The dedication of their volunteers is awesome and the work that they do is so important and much needed.”

The charity is also keen to attract more people to use this new space.

Elaine added: “Any groups such as knitting groups, dementia or volunteer groups are welcome and we would be happy to give them dedicated time each week for their group to meet.”

* To find out more about the group or cafe email Elaine Edwards at elaine@familiesandbabies.org.uk