A MOTHER and baby group which started in Yate in 1995 has closed following a sharp decline in membership.

The Yate Meet a Mum Association (MAMA) launched nearly 19 years ago to meet demand from new mums who wanted to meet others in the town.

Founders Helen Reed and Merie Barber, whose babies were born in the summer of that year, were given information on the national association by then health workers Rosemary Oaks and Sue Gibbons.

With no base, the pair started meeting each other and fellow new mums at Yate’s then Safeway supermarket, now a Morrisons, before taking their babies to weigh in sessions and visiting one another’s homes.

“When the group got bigger they needed a venue and they started to meet at Shire Way Community Centre,” said Denise Beddow, a member of the group since 1996.

“We have gone up through every different sized room at Shire Way until at our peak, when we had between 25 and 30 mums every week, we needed the centre’s main hall.”

A registered charity, the group has met every Tuesday morning during term-time ever since and over the years had helped introduce hundreds of women to like-minded mums.

“We have helped and supported a number of mums who have suffered from post-natal depression,” added Mrs Beddow.

“Lots of friendships have been made and advice given and the group is going to be missed by a good amount of people. But in the last year the numbers have gone down.

“We feel proud and lucky to have been involved in something so good. We have stopped a lot of mums from feeling isolated and done a lot of good for a lot of people.”

Clare Cross, who joined the group in 1996 when her youngest son, now 18,  was a baby, said: “Over the years I’ve made many lifelong friends. I will miss our Tuesday mornings, catching up on the latest trials and tribulations.”

The group said it wanted to thank all the businesses who have visited the group over the years, Denis Bradbeer who has played Santa at the annual Christmas party, former Yate mayor Cleo Trotter for serving the group’s teas and coffees and Anne Paramore who has run the sessions over the last year. The group also thanked Andy Hillier for organising the children’s parties.

Although the group held its last session earlier this month it will still keep up its Facebook page – search Yate MAMA for details.