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Netmums founders earn themselves an OBE

 Published on: 6th January 2014   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category:

A Watford mum has scooped an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours lists after she launched a popular parenting website. Sally Russell, who lives in the town, received the honour for starting Netmums, a site where mums and mums-to-be can swap tips and advice. Netmums was first set up by Sally and another first time mum, Siobhan Freegard. Both suffered from post-natal depression and were looking for a way to bring mums in the same situation together to talk, meet locally and improve how they felt. Originally conceived as a way to connect mums in the North West London area, the site was soon being visited by tens of thousands of parents and child carers from around the UK and so the concept of the UK’s first national parenting site was born. Sally and Siobhan were joined by child food expert Cathy Court who helped develop Netmums to become the UK’s largest parenting site. 
The trio were the first to realise the power of the internet to connect parents – and the need to develop online discussions into offline friendships. Co-founders Siobhan Feegard and Cathy Court were also recognised in the list. Sally, aged 47, commented: “Parenting doesn’t come with a manual but Netmums is the closest thing to having a community of supportive friends carrying you through the daily ups and downs. “Netmums has created a ‘movement’, giving mums a voice locally and nationally, at a time in their lives when women often feel disempowered. “Because of our work post natal depression is no longer a shameful secret but something parents talk about openly, lessening the stigma and ensuring more families get help fast.” Siobhan, 46, added: “We are privileged and thrilled to accept the awards – but it isn’t for the founders, it’s for the Netmums staff and all the Netmums members who provide invaluable support make the site what it is. Prior to Netmums, parenting could be a lonely existence but we are delighted the success of our site means no mum or dad has to feel isolated or unhappy ever again.” Cathy Court, 49, concluded: “Netmums was created to support all parents so they can get the most out of family life, from helping those with severe needs to simply introducing local parents or giving mums ideas for crafts to keep kids busy on a rainy day. It’s wonderful to know it’s made a positive difference to millions and millions of British parents, and we are grateful for everyone who has contributed to the site and made it so very special.”  

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