Two Sussex start-ups focus on uniting motherhood and networking

Laurie Smith and Emma Cleary

Laurie Smith and Emma Cleary - Credit: Archant

West Sussex mums Grace Timothy (Sussex Life columnist) and Marianne Boarer have teamed up to offer a mother and baby group with a difference. The Mothers Collective is a weekly members’ club meeting weekly at The Park House Hotel near Midhurst.

Resident experts in sleep, breastfeeding, nutrition and childcare are on hand to offer advice and there’s a programme of guest speakers. The focus is on mothers’ well-being and happiness, with pastries from the hotel’s own chef and pampering treatments, all without the stress of finding childcare or worrying about your baby crying.

Grace Timothy said: “When I had my daughter, Noémie, in 2012 I stayed in for the first six months, totally isolated but with buckets of time on my hands...What I wanted was to meet other mums, chat about all my hopes and fears, and breastfeed in comfort. I had a gazillion questions – how often should I feed her? Should she nap more? Which nappies should I be using? Am I doing it right? You need a network of like-minded women around you, not to mention people who have all the answers! I wanted to set up something where the focus is on mum, providing all the support and pampering you need and so deserve in the weeks and months after having a baby, in the gorgeous (and very private) surroundings of The Park House. I wanted to help you meet other mothers in the area, fill your diary with lovely baby-friendly experiences, and tackle anything you’re struggling with – sleep, feeding, even going back to work. Our panel of experts will also help you find the best baby equipment, beauty products and books to cut out all the guesswork. It’s the kind of support network we all wish we’d had during those magical but sometimes hard early months.”

New members also receive discounts from partners including Alex and Alexa and Bloom + Blossom and a goody bag full of lovely products, including L’Occitane.

Monthly membership is £50 a month, one-off sessions £15 and six-month packages £250. More information from***


Friends Emma Cleary and Laurie Smith are calling time on nine to five culture. Both highly qualified professionals who struggled to find work that complemented family life, this month they are launching an initiative to bring together professionals who want to work on a flexible, part-time basis with local companies who can’t afford, or don’t need, someone full time.

Emma formerly worked in sales and marketing for Dow Jones International and Laurie’s background is in luxury hotel management. Both now live in Ditchling with their families.

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“We believe there is a huge waste of talent and skills out there: thousands of mums returning to work, as well as dads and carers,” says Emma, 45, from Ditchling, East Sussex. “They want to work but because a traditional, nine-to-five job doesn’t fit in with their family or other priorities, they can’t find anything.

“I have three children and I searched for two years for a job that would fit around their school hours.”

At Ten2Two, interested candidates register, upload a CV and become part of an exclusive group of like-minded professionals. Membership of the agency entitles candidates to CV reviews, interview coaching and free workshops. All jobs posted on the site are exclusive to Ten2Two.

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