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Expanding the service: Goodwin Trust volunteer doula project

02 October 2015
7 min read
Volume 23 · Issue 10


Ten years ago, two midwives established a project to recruit, train and support volunteer doulas in Hull, to address a need for additional support for vulnerable women. Dianne Hamilton and David Foster reflect on the success and achievements of the project, and iscuss how its model of collaborative working may be applicable across the country.

The Goodwin volunteer doulas prove the old adage that volunteers are unpaid not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.

The Thornton Estate, in Hull, was hit hard after the collapse of the fishing industry in the 1980s. It is a community of 5000 people who, since that time, have experienced significant socioeconomic challenges but who have risen, including through the efforts of some determined women, to create a new and supportive community. The Goodwin Trust grew out of this, and has been developing and delivering a wide range of services in the community since 1994. The Trust's formal strategy states its priorities as fighting poverty in the community, caring for the health and wellbeing of the community and all the individuals within it, and to provide and support access to education, training and employment opportunities. One of these, born of necessity, is the thriving and fascinating project which provides volunteer doulas to women who need them.

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