A NOT-for-profit support group is on the hunt for ‘mumma bears’ to act as ‘foster’ grandmothers for Latrobe Valley mothers in need.
Mumma Bears, a group offering support to ‘cubs’ – young mothers with no family support system – is seeking older women, to assist cubs with their parenting and other life skills.
Mumma Bears Australia founder and director Carol Ray said the idea for the initiative came while reading an online forum for mothers.
“One girl had put up a post saying ‘is it me or is it kind of lonely being a mum?’. She was so desperate she went to McDonalds for an adult conversation,” Ms Ray said.
“Many people commented they were in the same boat.”
Determined to offer support, Ms Ray set up a Facebook page pairing young mums with older mentors.
The Facebook page received 400 likes overnight and 100 members joined the group in a week.
Seven months later with more than 400 members, the NFP has paired cubs and mumma bears across the state.
Coffee, shopping visits, baby sitting and monthly catch ups are just some of the assistance given by through the initiative.
“A lot of groups are out there that cater for children but we are different, we focus on the mums,” Ms Ray said.
After receiving a call for help from a Toongabbie mother, her focus has now turned to the Latrobe Valley.
“We reach out to areas where we (have) found a need, and with interest in Toongabbie we have reached out to the area,” she said.
Mumma bears and cubs are matched based on location and need, with the level of support required varied.
While the mentors come from all backgrounds, Ms Ray said many were from the health and education sector.
“We find we have a lot of teachers, nurses, childcare workers, midwifes and social care workers volunteering,” she said.
“The cubs on the other hand are a very eclectic group. Some are from the United Kingdom with family overseas, some have been abandoned by their parents; they are all different.
“But they all need a little extra support.”
Those interested in becoming a mumma bear can visit www.mummabears.com
A working with children’s check is required to participate.