As parents across Salford try to cope with the lockdown and keeping their little ones occupied, ‘the Monton Mama’ is a boredom buster that promotes local information, activities, and businesses for the mothers, fathers, and carers of Salford.
Heather Benson, a full-time sound engineer from Monton, started ‘the Monton Mama’ as a way to gather and share information on classes and activities for local parents and carers.
She shares information through her social media accounts, inspires and promotes fun ideas on her blog, and sells locally sourced homeware, children’s clothes, and bespoke gifts on her website.
Benson said: “I quite like gathering information, I like knowing what’s on where, where I can find information locally, you know like the baby groups and toddler classes and whatnot.
“It was initially made to gather all that and to tell other people where they could find it, it’s kind of just grown organically from there.”
After speaking to other local parents about what activities they were getting up to, Benson started championing local businesses, creators, producers, and sellers.
Although Benson worked on ‘the Monton Mama’ prior to lockdown, during it she was able to throw herself into the business.
“I started the business off before lockdown, before this year, but I’ve kind of had a lot more time on my hands to be able to develop it with there not being a lot of sound engineering work.”
Benson, who is a Salford University Alumna, is passionate about sourcing merchandise locally.
She said: “I think it’s really important especially during the pandemic and afterwards, we’ve relied so heavily on local everything, it’s just so important to have that.”
With that ethos in mind, ‘the Monton Mama’ started collaborating with other Salford businesses to create locally sourced merchandise.
“I’ve done quite a lot of collaborating in recent months, such as printing a Christmas range of decorations and t-shirts with other local makers.
“There’s a lady called Emma who runs ‘Oh My Pen and Press’ who’s a calligrapher that would normally be writing wedding invites or save the dates, but obviously with everything that’s been going on she’s not had many bookings – so we came together and thought – well what about bespoke Christmas decorations.”
As well as collaborating with ‘Oh My Pens and Press’ to create the ‘Monton Mama Christmas’ range, Benson also collaborated with the ‘Goodluck Garage’ so they can customise the festive products in a variety of different ways.
Benson said: “It’s about thinking about what we can do with who’s around and making something that wouldn’t normally have been made.”
As well as being a site that sells locally sourced merchandise, she also has a blog that she uses to promote everything from local coffee spots to advice for parents and carers.
With the addition of the blogs to her site, more and more local people have got in touch thanking her for promoting local activities that they can do.
Benson said: “I’m getting a lot of comments and private messages about it, people saying thanks for telling us about a baby walk that might be happening.
“I’m only writing about things that I’m bothered about or I think are a great idea or just stuff that I’m passionate about, that’s kind of where it’s coming from, I think – this is a great idea let me tell you all about it!”
By promoting local activities that are going on in the Salford area, Benson is able to help new parents that may be struggling through the lockdown.
“To be locked down in your house for weeks and weeks with a little person is just, it’s a lot to take on especially if you’ve not been a parent before it can be really isolating and lonely, just getting outside and seeing other parents, even just to acknowledge that you’ve been on an organised route, just to acknowledge somebody else is just so important.”
Benson shares some of the best activities to do with children in Salford over lockdown below: