'Britain's poshest nannies' – also known as nannies from Norland College – may be the stars of a new TV show (on air this evening, July 17) but they are already familiar to scores of families across the country, thanks to their work with Tamba (Twins and Multiple Births Association).
Norland Agency has been working with Tamba since March, with nannies volunteering their time and experience to help families with twins, triplets and more through the Helping Hands initiative.
Norland volunteers have provided 1644 hours of help to over 17 struggling families, providing practical, short-term support for parents.
Some families have been coping with everything from severe medical complications, to parental bereavement, post natal depression and serious behavioural problems.
Whilst the volunteers provide help for free, Tamba covers the nannies' travel expenses and accommodation through the charity's Helping Hands fund.
Speaking about the programme, Claire Burgess, Early Years Consultant for Norland and Honorary Consultant for Tamba, said: "Norland is so pleased to be able to support families of multiples in this way and we have been overwhelmed by the response from our nannies who have volunteered their time and expertise without any charge."
Keith Reed, Tamba CEO added: "We are so grateful for the support that Norland's nannies provide our families.
"Each week we receive phone calls from parents who are at breaking point for all kinds of reasons, whether from financial pressures, a marriage breakdown or deterioration in health."
Parentdish caught up with Norland nanny Patsi Liddle, 55, who volunteers her time to Tamba with Helping Hands. She told us she was pleased to help support the initiative, which she does on behalf of all her mums.
"I spend time with families of twins and multiples who are perhaps struggling with certain aspects of family life – but I certainly don't play Supernanny!" Patsi explained. "I offer support and help with newborns and older children. I also help parents with their confidence.
"So much of it is down to worrying about what other people think – especially when you're out and about with children. But you just cannot worry about it. My attitude is it's not that person's family – it's yours, you do what is best.
"I've worked with families with twins and multiples for many years, and I know it can be difficult. My work with Helping Hands and Tamba allows me to give back a little – which I do on behalf of all my mums. It's a great feeling to be able to help someone who really needs it."
Patsi in her Norland uniform - with three beautiful babies!
Patsi has one key piece of advice if you're expecting twins or multiples: don't be afraid to ask for help.
"The parents who we work with through Helping Hands are asking for help – which should be celebrated," she says. "They want to learn and have fun with their children, and I'm able to help them do this. There's no shame in realising you might need an extra pair of hands.
"Encourage extended family, friends and neighbours to help and be involved in your family life. Take up offers of help and support – it makes a huge difference."
Patsi graduated from Norland in 1980, and is the first to admit that times have changed since she was at the famous college, which is featured in a documentary on ITV on July 17.
"I was at Norland for a year, but now the course runs for two," she explains. "I had time actually at the college, a few months in a hospital and nine months with a family. I'll certainly be watching the documentary, but I have no idea what to expect! I have my popcorn ready..."
To be eligible for the Helping Hands programme families need to have multiples, be unable to afford to pay for help themselves and be in serious need of assistance.
Families must have sought help from family, friends, neighbours or other external agencies and will need to receive support for their application from a health professional.
For more information, visit Tamba.org.uk. You can also find support on Tamba's Facebook and Twitter pages.
Britain's Poshest Nannies will air on Thursday, July 17 at 9pm on ITV.
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