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Help fund a new Baby Loss Remembrance Garden a Gloucestershire Royal Hospital

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Parents and loved ones affected by baby loss could soon be able to visit a new garden of remembrance, if money can be raised to create the new outdoor space. 

Midwives at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital came up with the idea to help provide a calming place for people to visit.

Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity is appealing for donations to help fund the garden of remembrance which could be open by next summer.

Nikki Dobson, Bereavement Specialist Midwife at Gloucestershire Hospitals, said: “We have a wonderful commemorative garden at the hospital created after the pandemic which has become such a place of support for people. We were inspired by this to create a dedicated new garden at the hospital for everyone affected by the loss of a baby”.

“It will be somewhere for people to go and remember their babies. Where they can sit and reflect and where they can take loved ones. The garden will also be a place for hospital staff who may have been affected by baby loss or who have cared for bereaved parents to visit. It will be a space for everyone.”

One in around 250 pregnancies end in stillbirth and more than one in five end in miscarriage in the UK. Weronika Glienke-Hammett was 28 weeks pregnant when she and her husband lost their daughter Rose in May 2018 and they were supported by Nikki and the bereavement team. Weronika said this garden will mean a great deal to so many parents.

The 37-year-old, from near Tewkesbury, said: “When we lost Rose, the staff were wonderful. They were extremely kind and respectful and helped us to process what was happening. They listened to us and respected our wishes throughout.

“Once Rose was born, they enabled us to stay with her for as long as we wanted. I could read to her, cuddle her and family could come in to meet her. As soon as we were home, Nikki came to see us, and I met with her weekly after that.”

Weronika, who is also mum to Henry and Charlotte, said this new dedicated space could help parents to navigate their grief and also provide somewhere for them to take loved ones.

“This garden acknowledges the life of a baby, regardless of how short it has been. It will be a sanctuary for parents,” she said.

“We were able to have a funeral for Rose, but not all parents get this chance, especially if they lose a baby in the early stages of pregnancy. I think this is going to be a peaceful place which could help with healing. It will be space for all parents to acknowledge their feelings and their grief and to remember our much-loved babies.”

The garden is part of the new Big Plus Fund campaign by the charity to enhance the patient experience or fund new equipment over and above what the NHS can provide. Other projects include installing more sky ceiling light panels to provide a feeling of the calming outdoors in treatment rooms for patients. It will also help fund wellbeing safe spaces.

Richard Smith, Associate Director at Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity, said: “This fund was created to help support projects that will improve the patient experience and transform the hospital environment wherever the need is greatest. 

“We are so grateful for anything people can donate at this time, no matter how big or small, as it will all help to make a real difference to patients.”You can donate online or by cheque, raise funds on JustGiving and much loved, or choose to support the fund as a business or community group. For more information visit www.gloshospitals.nhs.uk/charity or call 0300 422 3231

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