Nottingham-based baby bereavement charity, Forever Stars, is encouraging Nottingham to take part in a national campaign to turn the UK pink and blue, in recognition of Baby Loss Awareness Week (9 October – 15 October).
The City Hospital’s Maternity Unit will join other iconic local buildings including Wollaton Hall, the City Ground and the Council House that are being lit up to raise awareness of the cause, affecting families around the city. This forms part of the global Wave of Light, with families lighting candles, or taking part virtually in remembrance of their baby or child.
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) works closely with Forever Stars, a charity set up by Richard and Michelle Daniels, whose daughter Emily was delivered stillborn at Queen’s Medical Centre, in December 2013.
The charity operates as part of the network of support offered by the NUH Family Health Bereavement team. The Family Health Bereavement Team includes specialist midwives and nurses, who provide support to families who are bereaved at any stage of the pregnancy or post-birth. In 2017 alone, the NUH Family Health Bereavement team supported 217 families from around the region, who lost their child within their first year.
Richard Daniels from Forever Stars said: “Baby Loss Awareness Week is a great opportunity for Nottingham to showcase the wealth of support that is available to families that lose a baby. We are so fortunate that NUH have a dedicated bereavement service for baby and child loss, which not only helps families in the immediate aftermath of their loss, but will continue to be there for many years to come. With NUH providing such professional baby loss support, it has allowed Forever Stars and others to create a local network, that will help families find ways to come to terms with their loss and talk about their baby.”
Forever Stars have also contributed to NUH’s non-clinical provision, having raised significant funds to develop the Serenity Suites at both QMC and City hospitals. These suites offer dedicated bereavement space for families to spend time with their baby, making precious memories.
Forever Stars is just one of the charities that form the unique support network offered at NUH. The child bereavement centre, Zephyr’s, is based in a bespoke unit at the City Hospital, providing a non-clinical environment for grieving families to access support. The charity was founded by Carly Williams and Martin Sommerville following the stillbirth of their son Zephyr, in 2013.
NUH also work closely with the charities SANDs and 4Louis, to provide emotional and practical support for families.
During Baby Loss Awareness Week, Forever Stars are coordinating a number of initiatives across the city to help raise awareness of the support offered to families who experience child bereavement.
Great Northern Inns will be launching a pint called ‘Pink and Blue’ dedicated to Baby Loss Awareness Week, to raise the profile of the national campaign.
Forever Stars will also be launching a poem to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week, with the hope that it will encourage others to speak about their experience.
Forever Stars will also be attending the Parliamentary event for Baby Loss Awareness Week on 11th October, promoting the work being carried out in Nottingham.
Amy Brears, Child Death Review and Bereavement Specialist at NUH said: “The work that Forever Stars are doing to raise the profile of Baby Loss Awareness Week in the city is invaluable. It’s important that grieving parents don’t feel alone – that they’re able to talk about their child, and are given the emotional and practical support that they need, offered here at NUH and by our partner charities.”
Forever Stars are currently fundraising for a £1 million project to develop a Remembrance Garden at Highfields Park. Due to be completed in 2022, the Garden will provide communal areas for families to visit and reflect. There will be a dedicated memorial area to commemorate the names of lost babies and children. A large water feature will give an area for families and children to paddle and create memories.
To find out more about Baby Loss Awareness Week, and the initiatives happening to turn the UK pink and blue, visit babyloss-awareness.org.
More information about the NUH Family Health Bereavement team can be read at https://www.nuh.nhs.uk/child-bereavement-team.
More information about Forever Stars can be read at https://www.foreverstars.org/