SALFORD mums are being invited to sign up for a planned new app to help parents organise playdates – and combat loneliness.
The Facebook group MummyLinks is taking off across the country by offering a safe, invitation-only place to set up local playdates and is due to become a free app this summer.
Founder Emily Tredget, from London, created the Facebook group after overcoming her own struggles with postnatal depression and loneliness when she had her son in 2015.
Ms Tredget said: ‘’I struggled a lot with loneliness and I had postnatal depression also, which didn’t help.
‘’I have found since that loneliness can be a precursor for mental health, so now that I’m better, I wanted to do something to help other mums who are struggling.’’
Through her daily struggles, she created her own silver lining. She has made it her mission to ensure that no other mum should have to feel like she did.
‘’I found that I was often quite lonely through the week and it was mad because I grew up in the area and I had lots of friends from different aspects of life around me, but still I found weekly and sometimes daily that I couldn’t find a mum to meet up with.
‘’For me it was more pronounced because of the postnatal depression. Sometimes I would plan to meet up with someone and if they cancelled last minute because of appointments or their child was ill, that would throw me.
‘’That meet up might have been the one thing I was looking forward to in the day and it would keep me going.
‘’So, I just thought if I’m like this so often and I actually had a huge number of mum friends going through the same thing, then mums who were new to an area might not have that same social support around them.’’
Emily first went on to create a WhatsApp group chat with her mum friends and they would use this to text if they were planning to go to the park and if anyone would like to join them.
So, MummyLinks was a way for Emily to make the WhatsApp group chat available on a larger scale for everyone.
The Facebook group was launched in 2017 and it was a way for mums in local areas to connect with each other and meet up for playdates.
Emily explains: ‘’With the Facebook group you must ask to join, and you must wait to be approved.
‘’It’s so that we know that they are mum friends of people in the community. That’s the key element about MummyLinks and that’s what makes us different.
‘’I have around 2,500 mums on the Facebook group and about 500 who are waiting for a link in because they don’t know any mums in the group to accept them yet.
”As we grow this will become quicker.
‘’I know this can be frustrating, but for most mums that safety aspect of it is key.’’
93% of #Mums say they feel lonely at some point during the week. Feeling lonely can have a huge impact on your #MentalHealth and my mission to end #loneliness is the what inspired the #MummyLinks app to allow mums to arrange ‘ad hoc’ #playdates – hopefully launching summer 2018. pic.twitter.com/dlNxdww8vd
— MummyLinks (@MummyLinksApp) 1 May 2018
The Facebook group chat was set up initially as a waiting area for the app, but as Emily is doing it as a social project and works on MummyLinks in her spare time it’s taken longer than anticipated.
Emily said: ‘’I have friends helping me with the technology, so it’s all voluntary.
‘’The technology side of making an app takes ten times longer than you expect and when you don’t have tons of money behind you it can take even longer, but luckily mums are being patient with me.’’
Well the wait is finally nearly over as the app is set to launch this summer. With the android version already completed, the last few details are being put together for the Apple version.
Emily continued: ‘’Then it will be in the hands of the Apple Gods as to when they actually publish it, but hopefully it will be just in time for the school holidays in the summer.’’
Emily explained: ‘’whilst mums have been using the Facebook group I’ve had some lovely messages.
‘’I got a message from a lady saying, thank you so much for setting this up, I actually met up with a mum the other day and we’ve met up again since and it’s really nice to meet up with someone because I’m new to the area.’’
‘’It’s so nice getting messages from mums, knowing its working, it’s not huge, and it’s only little old me, but its making a difference to some mums and if it carries on doing that then I’m happy.’’
Emily has also been running the #ShoutieSelfie campaign. The campaign officially finished on Sunday when maternal mental health awareness finished. However, when Emily launched the campaign last year it ran on through the month of May.
The campaign is running through MummyLinks social media.
So, it’s too late to be loud and proud about mental health.
If you have a story you want to share or if you just want to show your support to other women, visit MummyLinks on Twitter or Instagram.
HUGE thank you to everyone who has supported #shoutieselfie this year! For sharing your stories. For showing your support. We trully smashed the stigma this year. Roll on next year! #maternalMHmatters #pndhour pic.twitter.com/Uqd6TifscA
— MummyLinks (@MummyLinksApp) 6 May 2018
Emily said: ‘’I’ve had several people say to me that they wish they had something like MummyLinks when their children were younger, myself included in that.
‘’I wish this was around when my son was younger, so I’m proud of that.
‘’Setting MummyLinks up and being open has given me a reason as to why I went through my struggles and a passion to help mums beat loneliness and talking about mental health.
‘’It’s something that affects so many mums, but it should never be something that should be hidden away.’’
So, mums of Manchester and Salford if you are wanting to meet more mums locally, the MummyLinks Facebook group chat is available now and the app will launch this summer.
Don’t suffer in silence, support each other and go find other mums on MummyLinks.