BBC Radio Cumbria, Tuesday 7th August 2012 

Mike Zeller. Kevin Fernihough sits in. Living it and loving it. The best of Cumbria's morning.

Interview starts 11:44am

Interview transcript:

Kevin Fernihough: Now were you aware of the fact that the third annual Breastfeeding Festival gets underway this upcoming weekend? With a packed week of free events lined up there is guaranteed to be something for everyone. The whole festival is aimed at promoting and also celebrating breastfeeding and it’s open to everyone to come along to. To tell us a bit more about this upcoming festival I’m very very pleased to say, joining me at the other end of the line there, Jo Dawson. Good morning to you, Jo.

Jo Dawson: Hi, good morning.

KF: Thank you for your time. This event, then, is entering its third year. Take us firstly back to the very very beginning. Where did the idea come from in the first place?

JD: Well, we really didn’t see very much in the day to day cultural context that was portraying breastfeeding at all. And obviously there are health campaigns aimed at pregnant women but we really wanted to bring together a whole load of things that do celebrate breastfeeding, bring them all together, and get lots of people together, and have a good time.

It’s as simple as that, really.

JD: Yep.

KF: And from there it snowballed. What has the reaction been like so far because, let’s face it, to be around for yet another year it must be gratifying to know that you’re getting the support from the public. Obviously the demand is there.

JD: Yeah, it definitely is. And I think that the festival is about a lot more than the people who attend each year as well. It’s definitely, you know, a good advert for breastfeeding and breastfeeding support to the community at large, and it just creates that awareness that it is there, even if they’re only driving past and seeing the sign as they go into Ulverston it still signposts that and it will maybe be in the back of their mind a few years down the line when maybe they do need support.

KF: OK, food for thought if nothing else just spotting the signs of this upcoming event. Talking of the event itself, where and when is it being staged?

JD: Well, it’s in the Coronation Hall over the weekend, so Saturday the 11th and Sunday the 12th of August

KF: Aha

JD: and all our events during the week are in the Coach House at Ford Park, so both these venues in Ulverston.

KF: OK, so that’s the Coach House at Ford Park in Ulverston. Now that’s going to be Monday to Friday, yes?

JD: Yes, that’s right.

KF: And there are two events each day, morning and afternoon sessions, with a break for lunch, I’m told.

JD: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, so we’ve got the room all day so people can stay all day and chat and make friends and obviously there’s the children’s park in Ford Park which is great for breaks.

KF: Well it seems like a wonderful social event, a chance to get together certainly for mums-to-be or young mothers themselves with a family that’s being raised. Plenty for the toddlers to do. What else will be happening at the festival? What message are you keen to get across?

JD: Just that breastfeeding is something to be celebrated and inform yourself, I mean get good quality sources of information, meet up with other mums, because the support is out there, there are breastfeeding groups, and they’re not just about somewhere to go if you have a problem, they’re really about meeting up and creating that social support for yourself, social network, in reality, not just on Facebook.

KF: Aha

JD: so that everything should go well for you.

KF: OK. And Jo, how do you think this year’s event will differ, say, from last year’s event? You’re into or you’re about to enter your third year, so what twist, what spin, what’s the difference, what’s the difference between this year’s event and last year’s event? Obviously you’ll build on last year and the opening year, but what do you think is going to be just so magical this time around?

JD: Well, I think the weekend should have more of a buzz, because based on feedback from festival-goers last year we’ve packed more into it. Cos some people can only make it to the weekend events or say only for the Saturday so we’ve got loads going on on the Saturday, particularly for parents-to-be.

KF: Aha

JD: and it should be accessible for working parents as well, being at the weekend, and obviously the more people getting together the better it can feel. We also run a big event each year. So, the first year it was the Big Picture, last year it was the Fashion Show, and this year we’re doing a singing event. 

KF: So it’s becoming more of a flexible festival, then, the fact that you’ve got events running over the course of the weekend and then you change location for the following week, Monday to Friday, as we’ve already mentioned, although the events both at the weekend and during the course of the week is being staged in Ulverston, Monday to Friday events are going to be held in the newly revamped Coach House at Ford Park, so 

JD: Yeah, yeah that’s right

KF: you’re making yourself ever more flexible and available to those that need and obviously want help and support.

JD: Yeah, yes, I mean we’ve varied our venues each year, but the weekend events, the Fair, they’ve always been in the Coronation Hall.

OK, and just coming back to the idea, the notion of breastfeeding. The fact that this is out there in the open to be spoken about and so this subject should I don’t know whether you notice, but I certainly do, more facilities available for mums in town? Again, that’s got to be a good thing, and that comes directly as a result about talking of breastfeeding and the positive side of needing and wanting and choosing to do so.

JD: Yeah. Which facilities are you meaning for mums?

KF: Well, I’m just referring to the fact that we’ve got more in the way of shops, we’ve got more in the way of restaurants, we’ve got more community areas that are making facilities available for mums if it’s a need to have a private moment there where they can take their youngster. They can breastfeed, basically.

JD: Yeah, I mean obviously women have the right to breastfeed anywhere they want. If venues such as restaurants want to offer something additional that’s great. It is really important for women to be seen breastfeeding, because it supports all the people all the people who are already breastfeeding and who might breastfeed in the future. It’s really important that it’s visible. So I know people think it’s great if you can offer a private space but that’s only for people who want that privacy, because you’re doing a huge public service if you’re breastfeeding in public.

KF: I appreciate what you’re saying, but at the same time there’s a member of my family, has raised three children, and quite frankly, would not feel comfortable breastfeeding in public. The point I was trying to get at here, at least now there are more in the way of facilities, rooms set aside, for those that choose to breastfeed in private.

JD: Yes, yes, so long as that doesn’t send out a message that if you’re breastfeeding that’s what you should do, you should be tucked away in a room by yourself.

KF: Sure. Sure. OK, if we do have listeners to BBC Radio Cumbria who would like to know more about the event there’s a website that we can visit, yeah?

JD: Yes, that’s right, it’s 

KF: And we can also find out more via Facebook, yeah?

JD: Yes, that’s right. There’s a link to the Facebook page from the website.

KF: Alright, Jo, congratulations on staging what will be the third, now, the third annual event, The Breastfeeding Festival, getting under way this coming weekend in Ulverston. I wish you and the team the very very best. Thank you for your time this afternoon.

JD: Thank you very much.

KF: Cheers

JD: Bye.