Welcome to the latest addition to the It Still Takes a Village – Working in Baby Loss Interview Series where we take a closer look at those who dedicate their day to day to preventing baby loss and supporting those affected. You can read more interviews, here.
In today’s spotlight, we meet Sam, trustee and co-founder of the charity Charlies Angels Centre. I’ve been aware of Charlie’s Angel Centre Foundation from social media and the dedication that they have to support the entire family following the loss of a baby through counselling, bereavement groups, holiday breaks and more.
So, to start us off, please can you let us know a little about your current role?
Trustee, Co-founder and counsellor with Charlies-Angel-Centre Foundation for the past five years. My average day consists of answering emails and telephone calls regarding referrals and bereavement packs, and seeing clients – I can see up to three each day.
What are you currently working on? Is there a particular project or aim that you’d like to share with people.
I am working on our ‘No Baby No Care Campaign’ – better care and support for bereaved parents and families. Discover more here, and sign the petition.
What motivated you to do the job that you are doing now?
Losing my grandson in 2012 and the lack of care and support my daughter received after she left hospital, and finding out there was so many parents and families were in the same situation as us, motivated me to help set up the charity and offer free support to anyone who needs it.
In what ways does your current role allow you to get involved in the baby loss cause?
We support anyone who is a bereaved parent or family member – we never turn anyone away, if we can’t help them then we will find someone who can. Our roles are varied and we campaign for prevention, regarding bad practice and we also provide free services for those affected.
What are the biggest frustrations or constraints that you face in supporting those affected by baby loss or preventing baby loss in the first place?
Baby loss is still unfortunately a taboo subject, in the UK and in our own community, people unless affected find it uncomfortable to engage in conversation regarding loss. We don’t have issues day to day as we only to talk to parents, families or health professionals.
“Seeing a family go from utter despair to being able to move forward and live with their loss means you have done your job properly.”
Who else do you work alongside in terms of baby loss support or prevention? Are there any charities that support you, or perhaps a colleague that you couldn’t manage without?
Everyone involved in the charity has either lost a baby, child, grandchild, I couldn’t mange without Ruth Curtis – she is a trustee and Co-founder, and she goes to home visits and follows up phones calls plus so many other things.
When the job is hard, what one thing reminds you to keep on keeping on?
When times are hard or tough thinking of how far we have come and Charlie’s legacy keeps me going.
We are in a shift change with the understanding and awareness of baby loss. What would you say to someone just starting out in a job associated to baby loss?
I would say compassion, warmth understanding and show you care. Supporting bereaved parents and families can be sad but also rewarding, seeing a family go from utter despair to being able to move forward and live with their loss means you have done your job properly.
It’s likely that a newly bereaved parent is reading this. What would you like to say to them?
You are not alone, there are lots of people who care and are here to support you.
We have some ambitious targets for baby loss currently in the UK. What are your specific hopes for the future in terms of maternity and baby loss?
I hope that care will improve and no one will fall through any gaps in the services that are provided. From our charity point of view we aim to open our first bereavement centre providing multipurpose services which will include a place where parents can spend a few days with their baby or child making memories as a family.
Thank you so much for taking part in this interview series. Lastly, before we finish – Is there anything else about you or your job that you’d like to let people know about?