Stagecoach Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire is supporting National Breastfeeding Week by launching a reminder that the company supports mums with young babies who choose to breastfeed on public transport.
The campaign, which launched to coincide with National Breastfeeding Week in June, will now see all Stagecoach buses in the region feature a prominent sticker inside the bus, created to show buses as a safe place to breastfeed. All drivers will also be given further training on how to support mums on its network.
Rob Jones, managing director for Stagecoach Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire, said: “We understand that our transport network is crucial for many new mums looking to get from A to B and have always been very clear that mums are welcome to breastfeed while travelling with us. Everyone who uses our buses should feel comfortable and supported throughout their journey – especially people travelling with young children.
“We’re very pleased and proud to be launching this campaign. The health benefits of breastfeeding are well-publicised, and we should all be doing our bit as a community to enable women who choose this approach to feel safe and comfortable in all public spaces. We hope this will go some way to removing any stigma around breastfeeding in public.”
The campaign follows a Public Health England report which found that one in five women believed people did not want them to breastfeed in public, with many saying they have been made to feel uncomfortable in their surroundings.
Stagecoach has worked closely with Home Start Wirral to produce a breastfeeding awareness pack for all drivers in the Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire regions.
Stagecoach and Home Start Wirral will also be holding a special breastfeeding awareness event at Williamson Square. On 18th June 2018, there will be fun workshops and activities suitable for mums and soon-to-be-mums to ensure they know their rights and feel at ease when using public transport. Free refreshments and children’s activities will also be provided. Members of the public are invited to attend any time between 11am and 3pm.
Sara Atherton project lead at Home-Start Wirral, said: “Home-Start began supporting families with infant feeding n 2009, since then over 9,000 mothers and babies have received mother to mother support. The support our volunteers give takes place in the home, on the telephone and in the community through breastfeeding groups.
“We are so pleased that Stagecoach is supporting local women and babies to feel confident feeding in public. In our experience the worries around feeding when out and about can be a major barrier to women achieving their feeding goals. The stickers that Stagecoach will be displaying on their buses will ensure families can be confident that this is a safe space to feed as well as the increased awareness for Stagecoach staff on the legalities of public feeding.
“Regionally and locally breastfeeding rates are already some of the lowest in the country so enabling those who choose to breastfeed to feel supported when out and about is essential. Evidenced based information and face to face support is vital for families who are choosing to breastfeed but we are keen to encourage more businesses like Stagecoach to play a role in ensuring that we live in a supportive community.”
Stagecoach Bus is one of the UK’s major employers, supporting around 24,000 jobs across the UK and 1,209 jobs in Merseyside and South Lancashire. Over 200 people have completed apprenticeships with Stagecoach since 2004 and the company currently employs around 150 apprentices. All Stagecoach vehicles are fitted with eco-driving systems which lower emissions and the company has shown the biggest commitment to using 100 per cent biofuel of any UK bus operator.
Stagecoach is part of Liverpool City Region’s Bus Alliance, a partnership between Liverpool’s biggest bus operators and Merseytravel. The Alliance is focussed on quality of vehicles and customer service, value for money journeys and straightforward travel from simple fare structures to easy to understand journey planning and a clear, simple bus network.