FAMILIES who suffer the heartbreak of losing a baby at birth can now spend time together in a homely, private space – thanks to a £70,000 hospital fundraising appeal.

The Dudley Group NHS Charity launched the appeal to create a baby bereavement suite in the maternity department at Russells Hall Hospital in 2018. Covid-19 has prevented an official opening, but the suite is now available for use by bereaved families.

It has been paid for by public donations, fundraising events by members of staff and the public, and the Trust charity, which held a glitzy Sparkle Party. Donations were also given a £40,000 boost through the fundraising efforts of Hannah Swancott, who has been raising money in memory of her own little girl, Luna, who was stillborn.

The room provides a delivery suite for parents who know their baby has died or a space for those whose babies die shortly after birth.

It means families can spend time together, creating lasting memories in a home-from-home environment.

The appeal will also pay for specialist training for midwives.

Trust chief executive Diane Wake said: “Offering the right support to someone who is going through such a devastating time is extremely important to us. "This appeal has created a lovely, serene space for families to come to terms with their loss and spend time with their baby, away from the hustle and bustle of a hospital, and without feeling rushed.

“The support we received, from both the public and staff, has been phenomenal. It has clearly touched a chord with so many people and it’s a pity that we have not been able to invite people in to see what a wonderful facility we have been able to create thanks to their support.”

Fundraiser Hannah Swancott, from Wollaston, Stourbridge, whose fundraising appeal Luna's Legacy touched the hearts of people locally, was able to visit the suite prior to the latest lockdown and she said: “The transformation of the room is absolutely incredible, the hospital have worked so hard to make it perfect and really help future families who sadly have to use the room. It’s exactly what the ward needs.”

Among those to raise money for the appeal were maternity matron Claire Macdiarmid, who raised just under £3,500 running the London Marathon in 2019. She said: “I have been a midwife for 15 years and during that time, I have met many families that have suffered the unthinkable tragedy of losing a baby. I truly appreciated the need for improved bereavement facilities for the families of Dudley.”

The Trust’s specialist bereavement midwife Holly Haden added: “The suite is making a massive difference. It provides families with a space that isn’t clinical and the soundproofing is so important to remove background noise. The room has an en suite, kitchenette facilities and double bed, with partners being encouraged to stay.

“Families have the option of using the suite for as long as they need to, so because of this we are hoping to relaunch the appeal and create a second suite. We know this space is invaluable to families from the feedback we receive.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the continuing fundraising appeal can do so online at JustGiving.com.