‘MumSpace’ provides a safe space for Mums wellbeing

There are lots of coffee groups and playgroups out there, but it can be hard to find one that fits with you and your family. MumSpace is a group of Mums in Oamaru who connect once a month, with a focus on how Mum is doing.

The idea came from parent leader Olivia Bungard, who wanted a group for Mums that focused on how they were coping mentally with the day to day stresses of being a Mum.

The idea became a reality when SKIP came on board. The group meets each month and are encouraged to turn up ‘how they are’. Children are entertained, and Mums have the chance to have a coffee and an adult conversation.

“It’s just a welcoming, easy, safe place to be” explains Kirsten Dixon, SKIP Coordinator for Safer Waitaki. 

A focus on wellbeing

Olivia herself has had eight children, over a twenty-year time span. She explains that she has seen a lot of parenting trends come and go but one thing remains constant – that Mums can struggle to speak out about the challenges they’re facing.

“We wanted it to be a refreshing space for Mums to go to, where they would learn things and they could learn from each other – keep things positive and maybe have a shoulder to cry on” Olivia explains.

On MumSpace day, Olivia encourages people to turn up anytime between 10:30 and 12:00 and often finds that people who need extra support that week will stay behind after those hours. Olivia sets the whole day aside to make sure she can be there for those who might need it that month.

Learning new skills

Each month there is a different theme to the group. They have had activities such as darning, weaving harakeke flowers, cooking lessons, rock painting and veggie planting.

“When your hands are busy, it can be easier to open up and start talking to the person next to you. It also allows us to provide something of value, a new skill, hobby or interest for those in our community”. 

Mums who attend the group regularly credit the support and friendships they have made to Olivia and Kirsten. Many identified the excitement of just being able to have a hot cup of coffee and a sit down as one of the reasons they keep coming back.