Newsletter #1

24th November 2020


Launching ACESL during lockdown was never going to be an easy feat, so it’s no surprise that the latest in sling library world is all about how to reopen in the new world and run COVID-safe services. We are happy to offer a new Infection Control module to all ACESL members through your EduCare login. This new course follows the same format as our existing content, so has a named certificate for the module – ideal for helping client confidence in the safety of your service and ongoing risk assessments. Onto risk assessments, ACESL has provided a comprehensive template risk assessment document packed full of links and useful source information, all with sling libraries and carrying support in mind. This is of such central importance to the safe reopening of our services that we have made this available to the whole of the carrying community. 
Keep Calm and Carry On – Covid-19 and the UK Sling Libraries

It’s been a crazy year for us all – could there be some normality on the horizon? As March 2020 wore on, it became increasingly clear that not only was the pandemic going to affect each and every one of us, it was going to have a lasting effect on the UK sling library industry. As a support system often heavily based on trying things on, and using items for hire to introduce carriers to multiple families, the different sling library organisations around the country began to adapt. Quickly, with impressive adaptability, the sling libraries individually and collectively showed that they are an industry very used to problem-solving. Carrier hire as a delivery service began, postal hire services expanded. Social media abounded with live video sessions, sling and carrier support groups, local networking systems bringing communities of parents together. Virtual appointments, already offered by many, allowed thousands of families to access trained support without leaving their homes. Babies born into lockdown conditions were held close, new parents without recourse to family support were able to parent hands free, in stressful situations. Carrying educators and sling librarians created new safety procedures and policies, working from home, parenting, home learning, changing the face of the industry nearly overnight – but all working to the same end, bringing the benefits of child carrying to the communities they support.

Read more on our website 

We are proud to announce the very first ACESL diversity fellowship and diversity sponsorship schemes have support from our members and applications will soon be open. We are happy to welcome Slingababy Carrying School as an ACESL member and one of the first to work with us in the sponsorship scheme.Applicants will be welcomed from any minority or ethnic group currently under-represented in carrying professionals in the UK, and we are working together with sponsors to provide training, equipment, mentorship and support for carrying support projects in the UK. We are very excited to be able to support new carrying professionals and hope that professionals using our sponsorship scheme will work closely with ACESL to better support our communities and provide a truly rounded perspective for our industry organisation. By supporting diversity in our profession, we are better placed to work closely with families and support clients with sensitivity, inclusivity and understanding.

We are open for photo submissions! Creating our online photo database which will be free to access for all ACESL members, we welcome images which show the carrying support industry in action.

Going forward, we will invite a member feature in our newsletter and will be able to focus on one service or individual, giving an insight into the daily lives of others in our industry and helping us all to get to know one another. For this, our very first newsletter, we’d like to introduce ourselves as the directors of ACESL (CIC)
Nicola currently runs The West Yorkshire Sling Library, a large established library and advice service that will celebrate its tenth birthday in 2021. She is passionate about the difference slings and carriers can make to an individual and to a community, and believes that high quality carrying support can make a real difference, enhancing family life and freedoms. She has supported many thousands of families and became a director at ACESL to help increase the profile of the carrying support industry.

Nicola says “I believe that providing support to achieve safe and comfortable infant carrying is one of the most important services there is for new families, in terms of the different regular carrier use can have on their lives as a family. ACESL is here for the industry, to support the supporters, so we can achieve this to the highest possible standard. ACESL is a chance to stand together and increase the profile of our work, together with building relationships with brands and manufacturers. The ultimate aim is to achieve high quality carrying support for all through successful safety campaigns and collaborative working on safe, user friendly carrying aids and resources.”
Pixie jumped into the world of child carrying end of 2013, and from 2014 was hooked. She undertook her first carrying consultant course in 2015, after Babywearing saved her from the actions her PND was suggesting, after hidden health issues, and bad advice caused major mobility impact and damage.

She founded Newbury Slings in April 2015 to give parents the power of choices.
Her background is in education and was a SENCO and class teacher, whilst in latterly trained and undertakes Special learning difficulties such as dyslexia assessments, and supports Access Arrangements, as well as being a parent to 2 wonderful children. She uses her wheelchair as an aid to help her be the best parent she can be, but that doesn’t stop her from supporting others.
Hannah grew up in Belgium and met her husband who is British in France. She has a background in pedagogics and working with children and adults with disabilities. After a few years of living in Belgium together and having her first daughter there they moved to the UK in 2010.

When her eldest daughter was born, she dipped her toes into babywearing, but didn’t really get on with it. Babywearing support was almost non existent in Belgium.
When she was pregnant with her second baby, she wanted to give it another go, and bought a baby carrier at a baby show. Sadly her second daughter died during pregnancy.

Losing her daugher also had a profound impact on her subsequent pregnancy and the need to keep her third daughter close after she was born, made carrying her almost a necessity. It was the only way to do the school run and babywearing became a way of life. Hannah also started volunteering at sling meets in Cambridge.

Just before having her fourth daughter, she trained as a babywearing peer supporter with Born to Carry.

In 2016 Hannah completed her Slingababy consultancy course and started Hold Me Close Consultancy, so she could support parents and carers to use slings and carriers as an excellent parenting tool.

In the summer of 2017 Hannah joined the team at East Kent Slings, helping out and running sling meets and workshops in the Ashford area.

In December 2017 her fifth daughter gave her the chance of practising all her consultancy skills with a newborn all over again and 2 and half years later they are still enjoying the wonderful world of carrying.

By helping to set up and becoming a director of ACESL CIC she hopes this new organisation to be a great benefit to the whole carrying industry to improve safety standards and increase public confidence in safe carrying.
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