Air To Breathe
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The Health and Wellbeing Service’s Stop Smoking Service have received a prestigious award in recognition of its innovative project, Air to Breathe.
The Royal Society for Public Health Awards, which are now in their seventh year, recognise organisations that have demonstrated innovation, good practice and significant achievement in health promotion activities in their community or workplace.
The Air To Breathe project worked with local mums-to-be to, their partners and artists (Siobhain and Adrian Moakes) to produce a sculpture outside Wythenshawe maternity unit. The sculpture was inspired by a baby’s need for oxygen to grow and develop properly during pregnancy.
Abbie Paton, Senior Public Health Development Advisor for the Service was delighted with the recognition: “Receiving this award could not have been possible without the involvement of the young mums themselves, who helped create such a beautiful, long-lasting piece of artwork. We’re delighted that the RSPH has recognised the Service for our levels of inclusion and engagement with local people.”
During workshops the group were asked to look at their own baby scan photos and create wire sculptures of their own. The artists then reflected these in the final design - welding together the shapes for the central part to become an abstract foetus inside an abstract protective womb. Air blows through the whole sculpture underlining foetuses’ need for oxygen. Along with the sculpture, there is a photographic record on permanent display mounted on the walls inside the maternity entrances showing the process of producing the sculpture from workshops through to final installation.
The project was funded by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and accommodated by University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.
Nigel Wilson Group Chief Executive from Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG) said: “We are delighted to be involved with this partnership with the Stop SmokingService and UHSM to promote Smoke Free pregnancies. As the main social housing provider in Wythenshawe we are very committed to tackling the health issues our community face and help in whatever way to improve the life chances of everyone in Wythenshawe.”
A beautiful and extraordinary sculpture ‘Air to Breathe’ celebrating Smokefree pregnancy has recently been unveiled outside the maternity department of Wythenshawe Hospital.
The Trust’s stop smoking service has been working in partnership with Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, who funded the project and South Manchester University Hospital NHS Trust, to create this sculpture inspired by a baby’s need for oxygen to grow and develop properly during pregnancy.
Local artists Adrian and Siobhain Moakes were commissioned to work with pregnant women, their partners and families, along with maternity and children’s centre staff in workshops across Wythenshawe. During the workshops people were asked to look at their own baby scan photos and create little wire sculptures of their own. The artists then reflected these in the final design - welding together the shapes for the central part to become an abstract foetus inside an abstract protective womb. Air blows through the whole sculpture.
Siobhain said: “We were trying to show a positive image, ‘Air to Breathe’, inspired by a baby’s need for oxygen during pregnancy. The result is this beautiful long lasting piece of artwork. Along with the sculpture, we have a photographic record on permanent display mounted on the walls inside the maternity entrances showing images from the workshops held across Wythenshawe”.
Bridget Hughes, General Manager of the Trust’s Health and Wellbeing Service, said: “Partnership working has enabled us to reduce the rates of smoking in pregnancy. In the Health and Wellbeing Service we have a strategy of training everyone who comes into contact with any women who might be pregnant, including midwives, health visitors, staff in children’s centres and community groups. More importantly, however, the success has been the women themselves who have stopped smoking during pregnancy.
“With funding from Wythenshawe Community Housing Trust we’ve had a great opportunity to promote awareness of Smokefree pregnancy. We want to continue to encourage and support innovative partnership working, as it’s the only way we can run campaigns like this with limited resources. I just want to thank all those involved.”
Michaela Dixon, one of the parents who took part in the workshop and unveiled the sculpture on the day said: “I really enjoyed being part of the project. It really meant a lot to me. I am grateful for the opportunity given by the artists. It’s a privilege to make a contribution based on my children, who were born in Wythenshawe Hospital, as a long lasting piece of history. It’s a great project which involved local women, making the artwork more real. It makes the message of Smokefree pregnancy more powerful for that reason. Thank you to everyone for allowing me the opportunity to be involved in a great project.”
Over the last year in Manchester, smoking rates at time of delivery went down to 12.5%. Good news for women and their babies, who are more likely to be born at full term, of healthy weight and well – benefits that last a lifetime.
For more information on smokefree pregnancy or support to quit smoking contact us.