A woman from Bognor Regis who has touched the lives of women and their families has been recognised for her hard work and dedication.
Christine McLaren, 60, has been nominated for the Community Awards in the ‘best community person’ and ‘award for special achievement in the community’ categories.
Christine has been nominated for the support she gives new mums and babies, working as a maternity support worker in the community, attached to a team of midwives in the Hawthorne Team who work across Bognor Regis.
“I was really shocked and tearful to find out I have been nominated,” said Christine.
“The girls are amazing; they are the stars to me.
“They work so hard and I just work with them to help them through the most difficult days and the life-changing experience of having a baby,” Christine added.
Mother-of-five Christine has worked in her current maternity support worker role for six years and previously had a number of roles, including as a healthcare assistant in the post-natal ward at St Richard’s Hospital.
“For me it is a job that is absolutely wonderful,” said Christine.
“If I can just help one person breastfeed one of their babies, that reaction you get is just so lovely and you build up such a lovely relationship.
“I am over the moon and amazed to be nominated for an award.
“ I love my job and I love all the women I work with.
“I don’t really need to be rewarded because for me, my job is where I get my reward. It is definitely a shock.”
As well as providing support through running breastfeeding workshops, Christine dedicates time to visiting new mums at their homes to assist with bathing the babies and supporting them through the crucial time immediately after the baby is born.
Christine has also set up a newly-established early-days group held at The Phoenix Centre in Bognor, which focuses on teaching young mums about breastfeeding and antenatal workshops.
“Breastfeeding is something a lot of woman want to do and if they get the right support they can get through the first few weeks, which are hard.
“Having a child is a huge life-changing event for these women.
“Six months down the line when these women can give their babies their own breast milk they are really happy.”
Nominations for the Observer’s fifth Community Awards will be open until September.
In the autumn details of all the nominees will be published alongside a voting form and a text voting number so people can choose who they would like to win.
So, please get nominating, and we look forward to receiving your entries.