Sheffield mum pioneers the city’s first same-sex parenting group

A unique support group is gathering momentum as it gets set to celebrate its first month in existence.

Rattle and Roll Playspace, on Vincent Road in Nether Edge, hosts Sheffield’s first parent and child group for same-sex couples.

Tomorrow marks the fourth week for the group which was created by Anne Connolly, the owner of the play space and mum and café supervisor, Katy Middleton-Groom, 30.

The pair were discussing how there were no groups in the area where specifically same-sex parents could bring their children to socialise.

At the first session Katy’s family were the only ones to attend, but as time has gone on and word has spread, more and more parents and their children are coming along.

She said: “As a same sex parent myself, I haven’t come across anything similar, only Facebook groups but nothing where you can meet people in person. We realised it would be a great opportunity for people with similar family situations to meet up.”

Katy explained that some negative comments on a Sheffield Star article announcing the start-up of the group stood out to her. A few people did not understand the need for a separate parenting group, but she explained that everyone was welcome and that the main goal was to show the children similar family dynamics to their own.

She said: “I feel it is so important because by the time our babies reach school age I would like for Dolly to realise she is not the odd one out, even if she doesn’t have anyone in her class with two mums or dads.”

Despite this, the vast amount of the response has been positive along with a lot of sharing and discussion around Sheffield’s LGBT community. Katy is enthusiastic about meeting new families at the playspace.

“I am lucky Dolly has several friends with two mums, although she hasn’t met anyone with two dads yet, so would be great for her to meet that type of family too,” she said.

Katy and her wife Nicola, 33, met on New Year’s Eve 2010 at the nightclub, Dempsey’s in the city centre and been inseparable ever since. They were married two years ago. Her family and friends has always been supportive.

She had always wanted to be a mother and so there was very little doubt in her mind about whether or not to have a baby. The couple used an anonymous sperm-donor to conceive their one-year-old girl. As first-time mums, parenthood has been both exciting and demanding.

Katy said: “It’s hard from time to time but Dolly is the most content baby and she brings us absolute happiness.

“We had been trying for a couple of years before having Dolly, had several miscarriages unfortunately, and then we decided to have treatment at Jessops Fertility. We were super lucky and it worked first time round. We had initial worries about our future child being bullied at school but hopefully times are changing for the better.”

She explained that nothing outright unkind has been said since she had her little girl, but had experienced situations such as doctors being confused by both her and Nicola being Dolly’s mum.

The support group runs on Fridays from 10am to noon – to find out more about Rattle and Roll Playspace call on 0114 255 9241 or visit their Facebook page.