“I couldn’t find a baby & toddler group so I started my own!”

When Halstead mum Emily Hume decided to volunteer at a local toddler group in 2022, she discovered many had closed during the pandemic. So, the Eastlight resident and mum-of-two took matters into her own hands and created two of her own.

Eastlight resident, Emily Humes.

Fast forward to today, and Emily has just opened her third SunnyDays group, this time just for babies and their parents, with the support of funding from Eastlight.

Emily holds sessions at Halstead Baptist Church on Wednesday mornings, Gosfield Hall on Thursday mornings, and at Queens Hall, Halstead on Friday afternoons (for babies).

Children enjoy craft activities, while parents get to join an invaluable community and support. Entry is £4, and if someone is struggling to pay, they’re still welcomed with open arms.

Emily’s contribution to the community led to her being named ‘Outstanding New Volunteer’ at the Braintree District Volunteer and Active Braintree Awards 2023.

  • Quote saying "I want people to walk into an environment and feel welcome and not judged"

    Emily said: “It’s such a lovely community.

    “It’s good for parents moving into the area – it creates connections. I absolutely love doing it.

    “I want people to walk into an environment and feel welcome and not judged.”

Emily’s dad and stepmum, both retired childminders, have supplied toys, rugs and games. However, keeping costs low doesn’t cover the rent and other costs, so Emily has secured funding from Halstead Town Council and Gosfield Golf Club, alongside the Eastlight grant.

Ultimately, she hopes to create a Community Investment Company to help secure the groups’ futures.

In the meantime, Emily has created a baby-only group after noticing that newborn parents were often overwhelmed. She also books expert speakers on subjects including post-natal depression and sleep.

  • Young children are standing around and holding an indoor parachute.

    Emily said: “Bringing experts to parents is a pioneering idea. Local services are stretched, but we do signpost parents to them, where support is available.”

    To find out more about Sunnydays Baby and Toddler Group, follow them on Facebook here or call them on 07950839155.