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Registered Charity in England & Wales 1157855

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First Days - The Next Chapter

April 6, 2016



Where do I start with this? A year ago I had no idea that First Days existed. I had made the big decision that my old job in the city just wasn’t going to work for me. I had this gorgeous baby (Fletcher) – and a bit too much going on in my head to be a stay at home mummy. I might add here, there is nothing wrong with that, in fact I am in awe of women that can do it. It’s a lot harder than you think.  The days and weeks just blend into one, the daily drop offs and collecting from school. The baby massage swiftly moves onto baby sensory, to swimming and other various wonderful things to fill up the day and keep the little ones happy and stimulated.


All this happens and somehow these women still manage to do a weekly shop (must get better at that) and do the washing AND ironing, (what is that??) still keep their kids looking presentable and manage to brush their own hair and teeth and look good.. that is NOT me.


It was about this time last year (maybe a month or so later) that I was on netmums and I came across a job post for First Days. Whilst I was deciding what my ‘next big thing’ would be I thought I could apply for the administrator role and help out at this local charity (plus it gave me an actual reason to put my child in childcare and not feel guilty) whilst getting some adult time and helping out. Win Win..


I didn’t know what to expect, so I did a bit of digging around (a few google searches!) and applied for the job. I got an interview.


From the moment I walked in to the offices a First Days I could see myself there, I’ll be honest I was a bit overwhelmed as they’d only moved a week or so earlier and it was, well lets just say it was not what I was expecting. But not put off, in fact it made even more determined and I actually thought at the time ‘If I don’t get this job I will volunteer anyway’


From the moment that I met Emma it was clear that we had LOTS in common, at the time I didn’t know that I was about to make a friendship that has quite literally changed my life. There are so many of us ‘working mothers’ out there, and particularly these days that work it around their child’s day, in fact most of my friends do this, we work late into the night and early in the morning, iPhone rarely out of right hand…. and ALWAYS on call.


Emma Cantrell is a legend, she epitomizes the word ‘working mother’ – I have so much respect for this woman. Not only is she one hell of a mother to Joni & Wilbur, she is calculated, ridiculously clever, (like me a little sweary) and takes everything in her stride. First Days was her creation, her baby. The charity exists because Emma wanted to do something to help families who are struggling to provide for their families. Her aim always being ‘giving every child the same start in life’. How many people can you say you’ve met that have put themselves second and actually made a difference to hundreds of people? Not many.


We all do our bit, we donate to charity, we give our money and our time – let me tell you – starting a charity is a hard slog and you’ve got to have sheer determination to make it happen. Emma has vision and more ideas than you can ever write down, and never lets go of helping change people lives. All with little or no reward for this I might add.


So when I say where do I start with all this – I mean exactly that.. where do I start???


I am excited and nervous and giddy with the possibilities. I am honestly honoured to be working at First Days. I am honoured to call Emma one of my best friends, I only hope I can do First Days justice in the coming months whilst Emma takes a few months off (which will obviously mean she won’t take the time off!).


Maria Ali and Annette Honeyball are joining my team to extend our services to reach more people. It means we will be open longer, have more to offer and can start accepting more donations.