The response was overwhelming and there was clearly a need for this service. The charity has evolved to now provide other services. I saw gaps within the baby loss community and decided to expand our services to incorporate practical and emotional support. The charity now runs a support group, has built Little Haven – a dedicated baby memorial garden as well as providing practical items for funerals, literature and peer support.
What support do you receive? Where do the charity’s main sources of income come from?
We hold fundraising events and as we become more well known in our home city of Plymouth there has been more support from local businesses.
What are both the most rewarding and challenging aspects of running the charity?
The challenging aspect of the charity is that no matter how hard we work, no matter how much we give we cannot change the fact that a precious baby has died.
There are times when we also struggle with the complexities of the NHS. We are a charity that likes to see a problem and solve it. The team are ‘do-ers’. The NHS has various levels of structure and hierarchy and it can sometimes be difficult to get to the right person and sometimes families can miss out on our services because of this. It is why we promote constantly to ensure we get to everyone who may need us.
The most rewarding part is knowing we have made a difference. Things like dressing a baby can seem so simple to some but for a parent who has had their world torn apart and all choice removed from their lives we hand that back. By handing a little control with something so simple as offering a choice of outfit we are putting the parents back into their role as parent.
How do you juggle running Little Things with working full time, being a Wife & Mother and having downtime?
It’s about being organised and disciplined with myself. There was a time when that wasn’t always something I managed well but I have learned the hard way that for this life I have chosen to work I must have processes and rules in place. I now balance things very well and ensure quiet time is as important as all the other aspects.
What are your medium and long terms goals?
My medium goal is to ensure all of our services we currently provide work seamlessly and the processes are effective. I want to expand to cover more families but for now I am happy if we do a handful of things right rather than lots of things not so well.
Long term I would like to take the charity to the next level by having a full-time member of staff to provide support in Plymouth. A Bereavement support officer would mean more comprehensive support for Plymouth families and ensure we provide the best possible bereavement experience in the worst of times.