Mums and dads who need to stay with their babies while they are being cared for on Walsall’s Neonatal Unit can enjoy “ a home from home” now that parent rooms have been given a makeover.
A Quiet Room has also been refurbished so that it provides a less clinical environment for families receiving sad news or having difficult conversations.
The revamp, which cost more than £20,000, has been funded thanks to a partnership between two charities – Walsall Healthcare’s Well Wishers charity and Libby Mae’s Little Angels – boosted further by Marks & Spencer Wednesbury, which made the unit its fundraising focus for a year, and generous local businesswoman Annette Owles-Bryan who owns Annette’s Pram Shop in Blakenall.
And to celebrate the new rooms, Libby Mae’s Little Angels arranged for actor and Strictly Come Dancing star Will Mellor to officially cut the ribbon, last Friday 22 September, much to the excitement of staff and parents alike.
Lisa Poston, NNU Matron, said: “The new rooms are just world’s apart from how they used to look and we are so happy with the makeover which has made them much more homely and comfortable.
“Having a baby who needs care on Neonatal can be a stressful time for parents and there are often twists and turns in the journey. Being able to spend time together away from the clinical environment of the unit, or just to have some quiet time to process thoughts or take stock is really important to our parents – they have told us – and we want to make this challenging time as smooth as we possibly can for everyone.
“The rooms have got lovely wall art now; TVs, brand new beds and comfortable armchairs and a lovely new sibling area with a table and chair set. On top of this, money raised updated the breastfeeding room with a lovely calming wall graphic and Well Wishers funded the refurbishment of a side room which we have turned into a sensory/quiet room where families can take time out, receive results and discuss treatment plans. We are so grateful to everyone who has supported this project. It will benefit parents now and well into the future.”
Georgie Westley, Fundraising Manager, added: “Once again our fantastic community has rallied to support us.
“Annette’s Pram Shop held fundraising raffles and collections to raise money for the rooms and owner Annette was supported by Sales Assistant Skigh Mason – together they helped make such a difference. And we were so excited when former M&S Community Champion Carol Smith worked with us, pre-COVID-19, to boost this even further. Staff did a sponsored cycle, bake sales, bag packing and tombolas.
“When they came to the unit on Friday, along with Charlotte and Richard Sharratt from Libby Mae’s Little Angels and their son Riley, it was quite emotional to see the end result and hear Charlotte describe how such rooms would have helped when she and Richard lost their baby Libby Mae.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported us and thank you to Will Mellor for taking time out of his busy schedule to come along to open them.”