A group of Melbourne-based mothers are planning to offer free hugs at this year’s Midsumma Carnival for young people who may have experienced family rejection.

The move was organised by local mum, comedian, and author Nelly Thomas, who was prompted to do something after she saw a similar initiative undertaken in the US.

After making a t-shirt that read ‘free mum hugs’ and posting the idea on Facebook, other mums began expressing interest in taking part as well.

“I just want kids – and grown ups – to know that if their parents can’t accept them as they are, that’s their parents’ failure, not theirs,” she told the Star Observer.

“It is a parents’ job to love their kids for who they are. I also want them to know that they will find people who will love them unconditionally.”

Thomas will head along to Midsumma Carnival in the afternoon, where she will be donning her ‘free mum hugs’ t-shirt.

She added that while the hugs are meant to be for young people, she’s already had requests on Facebook from older people too.

“It is important to me because I care about young people, I know a lot of queer youth have a hard time with their families – still, in 2018 – and I know they need support,” she said.

“And words are great, but there’s nothing like a hug to offer love and support.

“[The mums and I] aren’t with any particular organisation, but we will be there, in bad homemade t-shirts, wandering around for hugs if anyone wants one.”

Midsumma Carnival will take place on Sunday 20 January at Alexandra Gardens.

nelly thomas free mum hugs

Nelly Thomas. Image: Supplied.

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