Potential of Waterford’s “Snuggle Stories” project highlighted in Evaluation Report

HSE Media Statement - 8th March 2019 

An Evaluation Report funded by the Dept. of Children & Youth Affairs has found that the “Snuggle Stories” project in Waterford is proving a success.

Based on encouraging parents and children to snuggle up and get comfortable reading and rhyming together, the “Snuggle Stories” initiative features free books and library membership distributed in a pack by Public Health Nurses to young families. Additional support for parents on a needs-basis is also a component.

“Snuggle Stories” supports parents, to build a strong foundation for bonding, social engagement, interaction and communication with their children. Coupled with this, the project provides opportunities for parents to continue to develop their own literacy skills, as a means to continue to support their child as they grow and develop.

So far, the “Snuggle Stories” project has supported family learning in selected areas of Dungarvan, Portlaw, Tramore and Waterford, was actioned through the Waterford Children & Young People’s Services Committee (CYPSC) Family Support Sub-group and involves collaboration between the HSE/South East Community Healthcare, the Waterford Childcare Committee, the Respond Support (housing agency), the Sacred Heart Family Resource Centre, the Foróige youth organisation, the Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB), Tusla/the child and family agency, Waterford Area Partnership and Waterford Council and its library services.

The Evaluation Report was launched at an occasion held in the Library at the Carrickphierish Community Complex in Waterford, a development in which two primary school, sports and other community facilities are co-located.

 Speaking at the launch, author of the Report Dr. Elaine MacDonald, a Clinical Psychologist and Research Consultant said:

 “Involving parents in their young children’s literary activities has provided numerous benefits to parents, including greater skill acquisition, greater confidence and self-esteem, a better parent-child relationship, and increased engagement with learning. The evaluation, supported through the Dept. of Children and Youth Affairs’ Quality Capacity Building Initiative, has documented the work to date of the ‘Snuggle Stories’ project (since its initiation in 2016), gathered and presented feedback from parents and partner agencies on its roll-out and envisaged its future.”

 Voicing strong support for the project’s contribution to the “Healthy Ireland” national framework for action, Dr. Derval Howley (Head of Service/Health & Wellbeing, HSE/South East Community Healthcare) told the launch:

 “Our message to everyone in Waterford is to capitalise on the opportunity presented by ‘Snuggle Stories’. The project aims to promote amongst families and communities an understanding of the importance of books and reading for the early language development of children from birth. ‘Snuggle Stories’ supports families to understand the value of reading for the social, emotional and cognitive development of their children. The project also contributes to the development of a community-wide reading culture and receives wonderful support from local libraries across Waterford.”

 Other guest speakers at the launch included a personal testimony from mum Claire Cullen Delsol (and her baby daughter Luna!).

 In her contribution, Ms. Fiona McKeown (Chair of Snuggle Stories Group and Asst. Director of Public Health Nursing, HSE/South East Community Healthcare Waterford Primary Care Services) said:

 “The nine month development check carried out by Public Health Nurses is where ‘Snuggle Stories’ has been able to ensure parents receive the benefits of and guidance on how to read to their baby and create a positive play-based early learning environment at home. From a HSE/South East Community Healthcare perspective, we hope that our support leads to an increase in positive developmental outcomes for children through early intervention and prevention. This means taking a universal approach at the earliest stage possible, to promote positive parent child relationships and the promotion of speech and language development.” 



Waterford Snuggle Stories

 Pictured in Carrickphierish library at the launch of the Evaluation Report on the “Snuggle Stories” project in Waterford were (from left to right): Claire Cullen Delsol (and her daughter Luna), Dr. Elaine MacDonald (Author of the Report/Clinical Psychologist and Research Consultant), Julie Somers (Waterford Children & Young People’s Services Committee), Dr. Derval Howley (Head of Service/Health & Wellbeing, HSE/South East Community Healthcare), Fiona McKeown (Asst. Director of Public Health Nursing, HSE/South East Community Healthcare Waterford Primary Care Services)

Last updated on: 08 / 03 / 2019