We are delighted to announce a charity partnership with local charity Leo’s Neonatal. A note from Lottie King (Leo’s Mum and Charity Founder)
Leo’s was launched in 2018 to support families who faced neonatal journeys across the North East of England. The aim of the charity is not only to support families during their time on the neonatal unit, it’s also to be there during pregnancy, once they go home and in to childhood.
The charity, whilst based in the North East, is recognised as a national charity by the Charity Commission, allowing the work they do such as campaigns and research to reach families on a national level and create change.
It boasts an extensive board of trustees, ranging from previous NICU parents, an Occupational Therapist / Allied Health Professional Lead, Counsellor, award-winning midwife and an award-winning neonatal sister, a paediatric consultant, a leading neonatal palliative care nurse, project manager, business owners and more. It also works alongside an advisory board which include Charity leaders, Neonatal Network Managers, Consultant Obstetricians, holistic therapists, parents and more.
The team works together seamlessly to ensure patient care is excellent and that every family and staff member is supported.
The work Leo’s does is unique, it strives to implement services, or create them, which will significantly decrease the impact on the mental health of parents and on staff members. For example it has a dedicated counselling service, a peer support service launching across four hospitals in 2019, welcome boxes for families as they arrive on the unit, a global #NICUHour on Twitter which shares best practice from different areas of neonates and facilitates parent feedback in a much more relaxed manner for staff. It also offers support for parents in the hour too.
Leo’s relies solely on donations from the general public and easily accessible grants from local foundations to run, which is why every penny is so important. The money raised is reinvested back in to family and staff care.
Christmas can be an incredibly difficult time for families who will be spending it on a neonatal unit, for some they may be almost home, for others their child may be critically ill and may never make it home. By being able to offer Christmas photos for families, means we can bring families together at a special time of year and capture a beautiful memory to treasure forever. We feel so passionate about trying to support families in any way we can, and with the help of CARRO we’re able to do that.
Promotional materials / videos / education is vital to not only educate parents, but to educate the outside world on just how tough neonatal life can be, and how vulnerable many babies can be on there. The impact on families lasts a lifetime, but by creating educational videos and materials to empower parents to have the knowledge they need to get through – we know we’ll be making a difference long term.
It also raises awareness of prematurity, the conditions which can arise from being on a neonatal unit and the impact it can have on those babies, their parents and families. There’s a belief that once you’re home, it’s all ok. But it isn’t, and being able to give those parents a voice to express that, share their stories, creates such a powerful message.