In the run up to International Women’s Day, I am pleased to share a guest post from Tushna Ghadially, Founder of Marylebone Mums.
“After giving birth to my daughter in March 2013, I gave up work as a fund manager. However, within the first few months of motherhood, I soon discovered that although Marylebone Village is a very family friendly area, it wasn’t easy to find information about children’s activities or mums groups that were available in the area. Having left a very male-dominated City environment, and not really knowing anyone who had children let alone babies I wanted to meet other new mums. I had chosen not to do an NCT course as there were none in the local area so I was feeling rather isolated. I realised I could solve both problems easily so I set up Marylebone Mums to connect with others and to help people exchange information about the local area. Learning how to edit a website and searching for information made me feel like a functioning adult again as I emerged from the haze of the first 6 months after birth! I run Marylebone Mums for free in my spare time for the benefit of our local community. It has been so fulfilling seeing what a difference it has made.
I run a blog where news and information about the many local events, classes and coffee mornings taking place are posted. It’s gradually grown over the years and we now have around 1600 mums and dads following the Facebook group and over 1000 followers on Twitter. Every day I get member requests from women who are pregnant or who have just had a baby who live in the area. Funnily enough, I’ve also had an increasing number of dads wanting to join the group and be involved with the community so I’ve renamed our Facebook group Marylebone Mums (& Dads). Sometimes we also get requests from Marylebone residents who don’t have kids but see the group as a good way to stay informed with local issues as well as fun topics such as new restaurants and shops opening in our area. Parents spend a lot of time walking pushing prams around and we love sharing new finds with our group!
The great thing about the group is that we have such a mix of people who help support each other. Some like me are born and raised in London, but many are people who have moved to the city for the first time. We have so many expats in the area who turn up here knowing nobody and end up meeting so many other people through the various events on offer. I understand how isolating it can be when families move to the city for the first time and how important it is to have a support network. My involvement in Marylebone Mums helps people connect with others so they don’t suffer from loneliness. I run a monthly coffee morning which is an easy way for Mums to introduce themselves to the community and to put people in touch with one another.
I love the fact that there’s a community of people in Marylebone who are settled here and are long standing residents, or who see themselves staying here for a long time, so you do get that real community feel, but at the same we’re right in the centre of London. When living in the heart of a big city I’ve also realised that it’s important to reach out and connect with others, or start a conversation with other mums in the local playground, you soon realise that they are in the same boat and appreciate a bit of extra support.”
Find out more about what’s going on in Marylebone and the local area on the website: www.marylebonevillage.com