My week: Ruth Howard

The branch support manager of the National Childbirth Trust takes trains and goes tutoring.

Ruth Howard
Ruth Howard

Monday: The great thing about my job is that it is so varied. Today, I deal with email enquiries and draft articles for our magazine and volunteers e-update, before popping out to lunch with a new colleague to brief her on National Childcare Trust branches. The branches are the local face of the NCT, offering support and services to parents-to-be and new parents.

Tuesday: Today, I am a postnatal leader, which involves supporting parents during the year after the birth of their children. It's a big day because I am stepping down from being the overall coordinator of Bumps, Babies and Little Bees for the Bromley and Chislehurst branch - and it is also the group's 10th birthday. The group presents me with a lovely basket of flowers. I will continue to be involved as the leader of the Early Days group, a session for new parents that explores approaches to parenthood.

As a tutor, I get a great deal of job satisfaction from preparing my students for this work and seeing their personal development.

Wednesday: I'm preparing for a meeting on Saturday with the volunteer coordinators of the regional teams supporting branch volunteers throughout the UK. I'm really pleased that we will have a new coordinator for Northern Ireland with us. We want to improve our presence in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and thanks to external funding we are expanding through development projects. I travel up to Stockport in the evening. Taking my laptop on the train gives me great opportunities for uninterrupted work.

Thursday: I help at a conference in Manchester Town Hall organised by our North West Development Project in partnership with Sowing Seeds, which supports African-Caribbean fathers. The theme was 'reaching out to men and fathers' - there was a great buzz from speakers, workshop leaders and participants. It was a real demonstration of the NCT's progress towards reaching all parents. Then it's on the train to Huddersfield to observe a student there tomorrow.

Friday: A lovely session at my student's Early Days drop-in, organised by the Bradford branch in Unesco World Heritage Site Saltaire, alongside a parent and baby group. Lots of supportive sharing on good and bad advice, helping it make sense and how it feels to trust your own instincts. Then I'm back on the train and writing up my comments before reaching London.

- The NCT is a leading charity on pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.

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