A breastfeeding support service is set to be cut from the council's budget.

Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust runs nine breastfeeding support groups across the borough, to give mothers and partners the chance to come together and have one-to-one consultations with professionals, as well as to meet one another, socialise and share their stories in a supportive atmosphere.

The service also runs a helpline, does home visits for mothers and can give specialist advice, spotting things like tongue ties which can be missed in other healthcare settings.

But staff at the service were told their funding for the Barnet area chas been cut from next year's budget by Barnet Council, meaning their service will cease to exist in the borough from April.

Rebekah Smith, a volunteer who utilised the service for all of her children and was inspired to train and help others, said: "It is a lifeline for lots of people who leave hospital and there is not enough support.

"It is a transitional time and they really do need someone to sit with them to watch their feed or be a shoulder to cry on.

"We are also there if there is anything emotional that they need - we try and link in with other health services and work together."

In August, the Barnet Borough Times visited the service at work in Hope Corner Community Centre in Barnet, where mothers waited to tell their stories of how the service had helped them.

Kathryn Ellis, from Potters Bar. said her son, James, spent his first nine days in a neo-natal unit due to low blood sugar.

She struggled at first to produce colostrum, the fluid produced after birth, but with the help from staff at Barnet Birth Centre was able to express milk while James was in the unit but her struggles did not end there as she had problems with latching and was unable to breastfeed him

She said: "I felt like a failing mother. I would continue to express to feed him and just felt like I was a cow or something."

"It is really down to people like Val at Barnet Birth Centre and Cheryl at the group.

"It is a really beneficial service; I felt very well supported and listened to and this type of service needs to be here."

Ms Smith said the funding required for the breastfeeding support service is small, with only one full time staff member and a few other part timers.

Volunteers and service staff will be delivering a petition to MP for Chipping Barnet Theresa Villiers, in the hope of gaining her support on the issue.

Ms Villiers said: "I haven't yet received the petition but when I do of course I will take it seriously and work with the council and the NHS to seek to ensure that new mothers and young families are receiving proper support."

A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “The Barnet breastfeeding support service has been a great help to many mothers and we aim to still provide breastfeeding support in the future, although this will be delivered in a different way.

"We are currently working to develop a new model and the current provider is proactively involved in discussions to ensure there is continuity in support."

To support the service and sign the petition, visit https://www.savebarnetbreastfeedingsupport.co.uk/