The multiple births charity with a difference
In this week’s Behind the Blue Walls we’re looking at one of our newest charity partners, Tamba. They aim to raise funds for research as well as providing care for parents and families of multiples; from twins to quintuplets, Tamba provide help to those in need of a little more support. Speaking to Shelley Smith, head of fundraising at Tamba, we discovered more about the work they do and how they provide support to families nationwide.
Where it all began
Tamba (Twins and Multiple Births Association) was set up by parents of multiples and interested professionals in 1978. This was in response to a lack of advice and information available for parents of multiples and the problems they faced. Judi Linney, Tamba’s president, was one of those founder members and it all began in her living room distributing a few leaflets! Tamba has grown considerably over the years and now supports almost 18,000 members and thousands of non-members.
The demand for Tamba’s services continues to grow as the number of multiple births is on the increase, mainly due to fertility treatments and mums having babies later in life. The Office of National Statistics in England and Wales show that 16.1 out of every 1000 women giving birth had a multiple birth in 2014, an increase from the previous year.
Services available through Tamba
The multiple birth community face many disadvantages compared to singleton families. For instance, multiple pregnancies are at far higher risk of developing complications and can also develop very specific conditions, such as Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) where one twin transfuses blood to the other in the womb. Premature labour occurs in half of these pregnancies and this means higher risk of stillbirth and neonatal death or disability for the babies.
Caring for more than one baby is physically, emotionally and mentally demanding and mothers are at twice the risk of postnatal depression. Parents also report higher levels of financial stress and material deprivation and childcare costs create a barrier to work. Sadly, families are also more likely to suffer a relationship breakdown.
Tamba is the only UK-wide charity working to improve the lives of families with twins, triplets or more. They do this through:
- Campaigning to improve health, wellbeing and developmental outcomes.
- Funding clinical research to reduce the many risks before, during and after birth.
- Providing information booklets, factsheets and online resources about the specific nature of being pregnant with multiples, birthing them and bringing them up.
- Running multiple-specific antenatal courses, breastfeeding and parenting courses.
- Providing practical advice and a telephone help line, which is open every day of the year and for those families who are in crisis we provide short term in-home help.
- Running a national network of twins clubs to prevent isolation.
- For those who have sadly lost one or more of their multiples Tamba offer a much needed Bereavement Support Service.
What the charity has achieved since it began
Tamba have improved the lives of multiple birth families. Here is a small selection of their recent achievements…
- They created the first national Twin to Twin Transfusion Registry to help medical practice and provide a databank for future research into treating this multiple-specific disease.
- Launched #2expectmore, an ongoing campaign to ensure all maternity units across the UK implement clinical best practice around multiple pregnancies.
- Launched the Big Research Appeal to fund clinical research grants into studies of the risks associated with multiple pregnancies and births. The program will be conducted in partnership with the British Maternal and Fetal Medicine Society (BMFMS). It will be the biggest research programme of its kind.
- School admission code in England incorporates long-term campaign aim to improve flexibility around starting dates for summer born and premature multiples.
- Report published on the lack of parental involvement in school classroom placement decisions for twins and higher multiples. Government issues direction stating that schools must not have a blanket policy.
- Launched their new discounter scheme to help our members save more than ever before. Tamba members now have access to over 100 UK discounters.
- Produced new resources to better support partners, grandparents and same-sex parents. They also introduced additional resources for triplet and higher multiple parents.
- Launched a range of support webinars for parents’ convenience.
How to find out more
If you, or someone you know, could benefit from any of these services, have a look at the Tamba
website - or if you'd like to see more about Safestore's charity partnerships, take a look at our Corporate Social Responsility