The North East Sling Library has been in existence since July 2011. Since the moment I decide that the NE needed my services I have put my heart and soul into building it, growing its reputation and helping the parents of the NE to carry their babies big and small. I have been extremely lucky and privileged to help so many families of all shapes and sizes, to begin, develop and grow their babywearing journeys.
The friends I have made while running NESL will be friends I have for a life time. I am indebted to them for their support and friendship. Never did I think my hobby would become my job. But for the past 3 years this has been my only ’employment’. NESL helped me through the darkest moments of my life. The library has made me laugh, smile and cry. I cannot believe we are now 5. Inspired by Emily at the South London Sling Library and Nicola at The West Yorkshire Sling Library I took the plunge. With a stash of just 23 slings we held our first meet in my tiny living room. We have grown unrecognisably since then and are fast approaching 300 slings.
The sling scene has changed a lot since we began. Gone are the days were slings were an odd site. They are now spotted daily and there is an active and growing babywearing community here in the North East. There are now 7 libraries serving the region, when I started I was the only one. I am a very small part of a much larger community. I am independent of the other libraries but work with them when needed. For example, Jess and Judy from Upsy Daisy Sling Library are hosting our session on Monday because I cannot make the first hour as Isaac has his last visit to school.
It is the fact Demo Doll Isaac is starting school that I am writing this letter to you. Being able to work from home and take him with me to sessions meant the library worked perfectly for us. He is now a big boy and it is time for me to be a big girl. This means I am going back to work. I am very excited about what the future holds for me.
I am not returning to teaching but I will be working as a primary school teaching assistant from September. I love NESL, it is and has been my life for 5 years. But I have more to give. NESL will continue, we are not closing. My new role is currently part time, mornings only during term time and as such I will still be running sessions. These do though need to change. I have managed to move or find cover for all but 1 session that we currently offer. I will continue to help the NE to carry their babies in person and by post, it just won’t be the only thing I do. I hope you understand and appreciate my decision.
What is changing and when?
Firstly, all the changes will begin from September. So we will continue ‘as normal’ during July/August with exception of holiday closures. Please check our Facebook page for these.
One to One Consultations – These will be available in school holidays and by arrangement on evenings and weekends. I will also be opening some afternoon slots once I have settled into my new work schedule.
Postal Hires – Slings will continue to be available to hire by post across the UK. I will still be able to post everyday
Workshops/Born to Carry – During the school holidays I will organise workshops and Born to Carry peer support courses. Our next BTC course is booking now and is being held on 25th October 2016.
Sling Library Drop Ins – The original and oldest sessions, our ‘Slings at home’ sessions are stopping. This means our last Wednesday at home session will be August 10th. I will though be offering an extra Saturday Slings drop in on 4th Saturday of each month. These will be 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month 2-4pm.
Durham City Sling and Real Nappy Meet – This group will continue to run on the 3rd Thursday of each month but will be led by trained peer supporters only. The Nappy Library will also return from September. I will be providing Sharon and Kelly with a ‘kit’ of slings so that they have their own stock, but extra can be added just ask. All slings will still be part of NESL.
Miss Tina’s, Washington – This is moving to the 1st Monday of each month instead of 2nd Monday and will be held in afternoon from 1-2.45pm. For September we will meet on 2nd Monday (12th September) and will switch to new date from October.
Ace Playce, Killingworth – This is moving to a Tuesday (1st Tuesday of the month) between 1.30-3pm. We will return to Ace Playce on 4th October, we will not be able to attend during August or September.
Birth and Baby Drop in – This will become a peer led session with Maddy. Madeleine is a trained peer supporter. Like DCSM, Maddy is going to have a kit of slings. Unfortunately we will only be able to offer the morning family drop in. Our last all day visit will be 17th August. During school holidays I will attend.
Consett Tesco drop in – Our visit to Tesco Consett will move from the 4th Monday of each month to the 1st Thursday. We will meet from 1-2.45pm.
I will be updating the online calendar and our website shortly. I hope you will continue to support NESL. Thank you for your support over the last 5 years and I hope we can grow and get even better over the coming years.