Staff from Walsall Manor Hospital’s Neonatal Unit, its Well Wishers charity and Marks & Spencer have all joined forces to launch a year-long fundraising partnership to support the parents and carers of premature babies.
Staff at Marks & Spencer in Wednesbury considered three potential fundraising appeals by different charities but Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Neonatal Unit secured the most votes. Fundraising will focus on giving a parents area in the newly expanded neonatal unit a homely feel.
Paul Barnes, M&S Commercial Operations Section Manager, joined M&S Community Champion Carol Smith, Walsall Healthcare’s Fundraising Manager Georgie Westley, Neonatal Unit Senior Nurse/Ward Manager Lisa Poston and Janet Gethfield, Neonatal Sister, to officially launch the 12 month appeal yesterday.
Staff will now support bag packs, cake sales, exercise bike sessions and tombolas within the M&S store and the hospital to boost funds.
Kay Coley, who works in admin and has been an M&S employee for 19 years, said: “We chose the Neonatal Unit because it’s such a fantastic cause and we want to help in any way we can.”
Work is currently underway to create a new obstetric theatre and expand the Neonatal Unit in a £5.6m project due for completion in autumn.
Lisa said: “We were originally looking at a fairly basic update of the parents rooms as the project’s priority is understandably the creation of a purpose-built Intensive Therapy Unit and High Dependency Unit. We’re also increasing increase our provision to 20 cots – taking our HDU cots from two to four and our special care cots from 11 to 14.
“To hear that M&S has chosen to raise money to make the parents area as homely as possible is really lovely. For families who have the worry of their baby being cared for in neonatal to be able to stay on the unit and be close by at what can be a critical time is so important.”
Paul Barnes, said: “Our staff are delighted to be playing their part in such an important feature within the neonatal unit. We can only imagine the stress that parents are under and want to make sure the parents area is a relaxing home from home haven for them at such a challenging time in their lives.
“Thanks to the involvement of our Community Champion Carol Smith who set the ball rolling with Well Wishers’ Fundraising manager Georgie Westley we are really looking forward to working with the charity.”