Make a Move

Make a Move

To create a sustainable service for enhancing mother’s mental wellbeing, particularly in the
postnatal period, with infant attachment in mind.

  • Explore dance movement for tackling maternal mental wellbeing as a preventive measure for
  • future mental, physical and behavioural health .
  • Enable mothers to regain self worth balanced with being responsible parents.
  • Keep child wellbeing in mind.
  • Create collaborative relationships in learning environments of all participants - practitioners and
  • clients.
  • Produce research explanations of our learning and outcomes from delivering, reflecting,
  • improving and evaluating the project.
  • Secure funding to develop and deliver free therapeutic movement for optimising maternal
  • mental health, baby attachment and social connectedness.
  • Share values underpinning Make a Move widely through presentations and publications.

Make a Move delivers three courses concurrently four times a year across B&NES in children centres and community halls. Start up funding from Bath & North East Somerset Council, Sirona care & health Community Interest

Description of the arts activity

Moving on Up was initially developed collaboratively by Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Sport and Active Lifestyles Team, Make a Move charity, Sirona health visiting team, Percy crèche services and parents, to tackle mild postnatal depression through movement and exercise. Dual purposes became clear: increase mother’s physical activity (thereby influence family physicality) and improve maternal mood (to benefit infant attachment). These interlinked health priorities called for a growth philosophy of pooled expertise and collaborative learning for everyone involved:
mothers, infants, practitioners. To this end, ‘reflective collaborative enquiry’ also means
responsiveness to immediate needs of the women and children. Dance movement raises mind and
body awareness in their therapeutic process and encourages engagement, creativity and

moving for the mind

All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing
Practice Example
Michelle is an ‘instinctively responsive practitioner’ who with Sarah, 1 promotes active body
listening, attunement and synchronicity using ‘transformative properties of music and movement as
catalyst for lifelong growth’.

Details of the project participants

Public Health priorities: improving maternal mental health, for influencing mother-infant attachment, sense of security and identity; increasing physical activity in family lives for reduced long term health conditions. The multidisciplinary team works on meeting these agendas.

Health visitors use professional experience or EPDS 2 to identify mothers of young children
experiencing low mood or anxiety.

In 2013 we interviewed participants: .

The offer widened to any mother of young children health visitors believe could benefit. Parallel process for the infants, in quality children’s groups, model positive nurturing relationships 3. A whole family pilot also proved promising.

Project management

In 2015, achieving Big Lottery Grant of £205,000 for three years, administration of Moving on Up moved to Make a Move charity - Free for participants. Make a Move uses ‘creative movement, music, therapeutic dance and talking in innovative combinations, to encourage healing of mind and body.’

Founder Michelle Rochester, dance movement specialist in educational settings, has 17 years experience customising sessions in schools for less advantaged children. Using her philosophy of a values-based learning organisation, she explores working with whole families, tackling stress in organisations and offers a service for adults with dementia. A Trustees Board (since 2011)
oversees five dance movement specialists, therapists, mindfulness practitioner, support team of volunteers.

Dance movement therapist Sarah Haddow is experienced working therapeutically with mothers and babies in hospital settings 4, researches her practice towards PhD. Ruth White manages confidential referrals through an honorary contract with Sirona IT
Department. Ruth’s experience as personal advisor in the Connexions Service, brokering access for young people into specialist services, provides invaluable inclusion skills.

1 On-going video research enquiry (2014-2016). Unpublished
2 Cox, J., Holden, J., & Sagovsky, R. (1987) Detection of Postnatal Depression: Development of the10 item Edinburgh
Postnatal Depression Scale.Br J Psychiatry.150, pp.782‐786.
3 Standard for Children’s Centre Groups (2015) B&NES
4 Haddow, S (in press) Weaving the Cradle:Embodied Narratives In ed.XXXX The Power of Moving Bodies: Dyadic and
Group Explorations in Perinatal Dance Movement Psychotherapy

moving for the mind

All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing
Practice Example
Ethical concerns about informed consent, information sharing and researching are rigorous as in
professional practice . Collaborative enquiring also demands ethical 5 consideration 6.
Health visitor collaboration continues with co-founder Robyn Pound (PhD, expertise in developmental/evaluative, collaborative selfstudy.
Marie Huxtable 7 (PhD) is research director for creating ‘living explanations’ of practice.
Jessica Broderick (B&NES local authority) promotes opportunities for physical activity.

Children’s groups (crèche) are provided by Children’s Centre services.

Evaluation methods and findings

Evidence-based practice, in a field with little evidence, requires activity, reflection, development and evaluative research 7 while ‘living and practising-as-enquiry’. We create relationships reflecting purposeful growth across all activities; video-record where ethical considerations permit; and encourage collaborative relationships with mothers appropriate to their recovery.
Our (2013) report

We use EPDS 2, videoed reflection and in 2014 presented our findings to the International Marcé Society Conference for Perinatal Mental Health 8 in the form of a film and workshop. Findings were further tested at practitioner conferences 9 10 11 12 .

Our research to understand, improve, evaluate and explain continues We created our version (2016) of the Mental Health Star 13 for awareness raising pre-course and showing outcomes afterwards.
Lottery second year: improved access for less advantaged women planned.

Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England