Lockdown mum starts stay and play group in Kirton to help others struggling

Suffolk mum Gemma Brunning has set up her own baby group in Kirton.

Suffolk mum Gemma Brunning has set up her own baby group in Kirton. Gemma with her sleeping baby Holly - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A Suffolk mum who gave birth to her daughter during lockdown has set up a new stay and play group to help mums struggling with isolation.

Gemma Brunning, 30,  previously worked as a primary school teacher and is "excited" to meet new people at her Holly Blossom Explorer sessions in Kirton - which are named after her little girl, who was born in January this year.

She said: "When I was expecting my daughter I was looking for local groups to see what was out there.

Suffolk mum Gemma Brunning has set up her own baby group in Kirton.

Children having fun with all the activities - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"As a new mum, especially during lockdown, I wanted to meet other mums.

"There wasn't really much around - one of my husband's friends runs a stay and play group near Coventry and I had a chat with her and she said  'Why don't you give it a go'."

Suffolk mum Gemma Brunning has set up her own baby group in Kirton

The new baby group takes place in Kirton - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mrs Brunning, of Walton, Felixstowe, believes a support network for mums, dads, grandparents and carers is crucial, particularly after such a challenging time. 


You may also want to watch:


Speaking about her own experience of being pregnant in a pandemic she said: "I went back to work in September to teach, before I had Holly, and that was absolutely awful. It was very, very scary just being around the children - even though it is something I absolutely love. 

Suffolk mum Gemma Brunning has set up her own baby group in Kirton

Having fun at the Holly Blossom Explorer sessions - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"I took maternity leave early in November so I could be at home, because I was then 28 weeks pregnant and we were very cautious.

Most Read

"My husband wasn't allowed in for any of the checks or anything, he was allowed in during the birth. Luckily we had to stay in the delivery suite for 24 hours afterwards because I wasn't very well so he was with me.

Suffolk mum Gemma Brunning has set up her own baby group in Kirton.

Suffolk mum Gemma Brunning has set up her own baby group in Kirton. - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"Then when I went down to the ward he wasn't allowed in at all and I had to be on my own with her."

She continued: "I had a blood transfusion on my own whilst looking after her which was really hard - I was so glad to come home." 

Suffolk mum Gemma Brunning has set up her own baby group in Kirton

The group is a great place for families to meet up - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

She added: "The midwives at Ipswich hospital were absolutely incredible, the staff there were amazing and I can't fault them in anyway."

The Holly Blossom Explorer sessions have something for all ages, from sensory and messy play for babies - to a craft activity to take home for pre-school aged children. 

This week Mrs Brunning will host three taster sessions for local families and over the summer she has also organised messy play and soft play for children to enjoy. 

Suffolk mum Gemma Brunning has set up her own baby group in Kirton.

Messy play and soft play will be a feature of the seassion - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mumlife Suffolk 

If you run a stay and play group, or are organising an event for children, please share details in the Mumlife Suffolk Facebook group


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter