Julie Crawford Award for Breastfeeding Support 2009 - Alison Spiro

Press release 17 April 2010

Alison Spiro

The judges are delighted to announce that the 2009 Julie Crawford Award for Breastfeeding Support goes to Alison Spiro, a Health Visitor from North West London. The Award was presented to Alison at the the baby Milk Action AGM held in Cambridge on 17th April.

Alison fulfilled the criteria by not only making a significant contribution to breastfeeding support in the UK, but also demonstrating outstanding commitment to ensuring that parents are protected from commercial influence.

The Award is for practicing health visitors who have made significant contribution to breastfeeding support in the UK, facilitating universal access for support that is independent of commercial influence. 

Alison is an inspirational Health Visitor who has driven forward change across Harrow and North West London.  She has been an NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor for 30 years, has sat on the steering group for the Breastfeeding Policy and Practice course at Institute for Child Health and is Specialist Health Visitor in Breastfeeding at Northwick Park Hospital.  In these roles Alsion has been instrumental in pushing through changes that have made a real difference to women’s experience of infant feeding: there are now six specialist drop-in breastfeeding groups each week in Harrow, four groups of trained Peer Supporters and all Health Visitors in the PCT have completed Breastfeeding Courses  or UNICEF training. This has fundamentally changed attitudes amongst staff in the maternity unit at Northwick Park Hospital, and has helped keep commercial influences from formula companies to a minimum. Alison has also focused on ethnic minorities, has a PhD which focuses on Gujarati women and children, and has pioneered the translation of breastfeeding-specific literature.

The award is given by the Baby Feeding Law Group and nominations are sought from parents. 

Background: In November 2001, Julie Crawford died from a rare disease, at the age of 42. Julie was a health visitor and a former Director of Baby Milk Action. She cared passionately about breastfeeding and was never frightened to stand up and fight for the rights of mothers to independent and sensitive care.  Julie was especially concerned about the extent of industry funding of education for health professionals and was also keen to push for legal action in defence of mother’s rights to breastfeed.  

The 2003 award was given to Gill Rapley,  the 2004 award to Deanna Vearncombe, the  2005 award to Sharon Breward and the 2007 award to Annette Ogilvey Forbes.

The Judges for 2009 were: Sarah Saunby, Breastfeeding Network,  Gavin Fergie, Professional Officer Scotland, UNITE /CPHVA,  Alice Hackett,  breastfeeding mother, and Patti Rundall, OBE, Policy Director, Baby Milk Action

For more information contact: Patti Rundall on 07786 523493