Meet the team

Viv Allen - Founder & CEO

Viv has worked in personal development and mental health for many years. She has developed her knowledge about the importance of safe and secure bonds through her work as a counsellor and also from her lived experience. When Viv had her own children she suffered from Post Natal Depression and other stressors on the care giving relationship. Through her own struggles and from working with many adults suffering from mental ill-health Viv has developed a passion to ensure that every baby has the best possible start in life through the establishment of safe and secure relationships with their primary carers.

Viv who has 2 daughters says “I wanted to establish a specialist service in Dorset to address the needs of the many families who need extra support to help ensure that they develop safe, secure relationships with their infant. This work is important for our children, our communities and for society as a whole. Studies have shown that people who are securely attached meet the world from a stronger base making better life choices from diet, exercise to education and career aspirations. The value to society in raising strong emotionally resilient children will be seen in generations to come. For commissioners the rate of return to investment in human capital is highest in programs targeted towards the earliest years. It is sound social policy and economics to ensure that every parent who needs support can access support, early intervention is the key to success."

Hello, my name is Emma!

I live in Fordingbridge, Hampshire with my husband, Simon and our two beautiful children.

I am a Certified Infant Massage Instructor with the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM), accredited by the Royal College of Midwives, Complementary Therapists Association and Embody.

My career has mainly centred around working with children, young people and their families. I am passionate about the importance of enhancing early parent-child interactions, attunement and bonding to promote our children’s future social and emotional resilience and the ability to form healthy, loving and secure attachments as they grow.

I first came across the wonderful benefits of Baby Massage when working with Young Parents as a Personal Adviser for Connexions and then again when working for Barnardos in Family Support. Learning Baby Massage proved so valuable for supporting the bonding process, increasing attunement and offering empowerment; ultimately supporting both parent and baby to reach their full potentials.

After witnessing the many benefits of this traditional practice, and from feeling these myself with my own two children, I set up Sunflower Baby Massage in November 2016.

My Sunflower Aims:

  • Facilitate. Enhance. Promote. Support

  • To facilitate a relaxed, nurturing and calm space for parents to spend quality quiet-time communicating and connecting with their baby through positive nurturing touch.

  • To enhance early bonds that are loving, healthy and secure, through meaningful parent-baby interaction.

  • To promote the warm interactions and gentle communication of Baby Massage as part of routine baby-care.

  • To support parents in their love for their baby and as the best experts on their baby.

'Baby Massage' goes far beyond simply learning massage strokes, it's a parenting practice; a gentle communication through positive nurturing touch, eye contact and voice that is built up slowly and in synchrony between a baby and their parent/main care giver. Ultimately Baby Massage soothes, calms and communicates love, reassurance and nurturing, as our children grow. I fully share Viv’s vision, approach and objectives for DorPIP and feel incredibly excited to have the opportunity of sharing all the wonders of Baby Massage as part of DorPIP’s service to help local families across Dorset thrive for generations to come.

Read my blog here

Dr Andy Mayers - Trustee & Ambassador

Dr Mayers an academic psychologist specialising in mental health, particularly perinatal mental illness and young people's mental health. He is a Principal Academic at Bournemouth University. He actively campaigns for raising better awareness for mental health, and challenges stigma and discrimination. He serves on several local and national advisory groups for maternal mental illness. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), as a reflection of his work campaigning for better mental health. He is Patron for the Samaritans of Bournemouth and District and Patron and for Dorset Mind. He is also Chair of trustees for ActsFast, a charity based in Dorset that supports families who care for child sexual abuse victims. He works closely with Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation NHS Trust and Dorset Police (in association with Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner) on the mental health street triage. He delivers mental health training programmes for health professionals (including health visitors and midwives), through Bournemouth University and Dorset HealthCare. He works closely with the perinatal mother and baby unit in Bournemouth.

Andy, who is married with 4 adult children and 4 grandchildren (with another on the way) says: “I joined the Board because I am passionate about improving the relationship between mothers and their infants, especially where that has been compromised by poor perinatal mental health. I believe that DorPIP is uniquely placed to work with other providers and support groups across Dorset, to improve the lives of families when they need it most. It has been exciting to be involved in the conception of this service.”

David Doyle - Strategy and Risk

David worked as Chief Risk Officer for large Global Conglomerates for more than 20 years. He has a wealth of experience in corporate governance across a diverse range of industries. He currently is serving as a Director of East Boro Housing Association. David has 2 children and lives in Wimborne, Dorset. David says “I joined the board as I wish to play a part in the journey of DorPIP from its conception.”

Malcolm Baker - Treasurer

Malcolm worked for Nat West bank for 37 years. He now works for Morris Lane, Accountants, in Poole as their new business manager. Malcolm who is married with two grown up children says:

"DorPIP is personal to me as my mum suffered very badly from post natal depression and unfortunately this has severely affected her life. I joined the Board as I believe this is a vital service and can help make a real difference to families."