National Social Marketing Centre

Get Closer

Last updated: 3 May 2011

Key facts

Target audience
Phase 1: 2006 to 2008; Phase 2: 2009 to ongoing
Halton and St Helens PCT
£9,000 (Phase 1); £30,000 (Phase 2)

Contact details

Cate Lawson
0151 495 5450 ext: 5466


In 2006/07, the Halton and St Helens area of Merseyside had one of the lowest breastfeeding initiation rates in the UK, at just 37.1 per cent. In response to this, the team at the local primary care trust named breastfeeding initiation as one of their key health priorities and formed a Breastfeeding Taskforce, which set out to understand the lifestyles and values of new mums and ensure their needs were met through the Get Closer social marketing programme. This programme included: training for healthcare workers; tailored support materials for expectant mums and dads; and community awareness raising interventions.

In 2009 a second phase began, which extended the focus of the programme to breastfeeding duration rates at six to eight weeks. The support materials were expanded from a short booklet about breastfeeding to 2 magazines, given out by midwives at early pregnancy (12 weeks) and late pregnancy (36 weeks). The magazines cover breastfeeding and other health and lifestyle topics for pregnant women and new mums.


  • Breastfeeding initiation – 10.5 percentage point increase between 2006/07 and 2009/10
  • Breastfeeding (partial or total) at 6 to 8 weeks – 2 percentage point increase between 2008/09 and 2009/10

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