One big happy Falkirk family – with a special birthday to celebrate

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It was started by a small group of Falkirk mums, but has now spiralled from its original eight families to boast no less than 125 members on its Facebook page.

Nor is that likely to be the limit, as the Falkirk Twins and Multiples Group continues to do what it does best - offering invaluable support and advice, rooted in experience, to local families blessed with more than the average quota of youngsters.

The group was launched three years ago when one of the mums, Hazel, realised a number of other parents who, like herself, had twins were having to travel to a support group in Stirling as it was the nearest to Falkirk.

She decided to look for a suitable venue locally and, three years later, the group founded in Thornhill Community Centre is still meeting there.

In fact it is is clearly booming.

One of the organisers, Kerri, said: “We have a group of about 20 regular families who come along on Wednesdays, and we have also started a weekend group so families can come together.

“The ages range from weeks old to around four, when they start school.

Last year the group was successful in its bid for a grant from Falkirk Council, allowing some improvements to take place.

“Our application was for improving the baby area and making a bright, safe and secure place for our smallest members to roll around and explore while being secure from the older toddlers running around,” said Kerri,

“We also used some funds we had raised through a Christmas raffle to improve the toys and equipment available to the older children.

“We purchased new tables and chairs and some new toys - dolls and prams are a favourite - as well as puzzles and some more educational/developmental material.”

One thing all the parents have in common is personal experience of the unique challenges faced by families with twins – or more.

How do you feed two siblings simultaneously? What about toilet training?

Those are just two of the imponderables that have to be answered very quickly by mums who often can’t draw on the experience of people who have faced the same problems themselves.

That is where the strength of the group kicks in, because a straightforward no-nonsense explanation of how these and many other dilemmas should be dealt with is worth any amount of well-meant but generic printed advice.

Obviously the challenges of the earliest years are seamlessly replaced by new ones as the children prepare to go to school - same class or separate classes?

At the most basic, practical level, Kerri notes: “Some days it can even be difficult to just get out the house with two or more children.

“Having a group of people who are in the same boat and can identify with what you are going through - and also provide some advice or tips - is brilliant.

Her own experience of the group seems to be typical.

“I first went along to the group when I was pregnant”, she says, “and then started attending when my twin boys we’re about six weeks old.

“I was really lucky within a couple of months to have made really good friends with three other mums.

“We met every fortnight and also started meeting in between the twins group and going to other classes together.

“We are all back at work now but we still meet regularly meet and their friendship has been invaluable.

“When Hazel – a prime mover in setting up the group – stepped down I didn’t want to see the group disband as I’d found it so beneficial so along with a few others I agreed to help out.

“I have found it a great place as my twins have got older too. “It’s a safe, secure environment and easy to see where they are and what they are up to”.