As an employee-owned company we continuously strive to support the communities in which we serve. As such, corporate responsibility is a core pillar of our company ethos and we continuously help to fundraise, support and progress charitable and voluntary initiatives.
Childbase Partnership is delighted to be supporting Bliss, the UK’s leading charity supporting 100,000 babies born premature or sick every year, with a fundraising and awareness campaign in 2022.
Bliss was founded in 1979 by a group of concerned parents who discovered that hospitals lacked the equipment and trained staff needed to safely care for premature and sick babies.
Now, over 40 years later, Bliss is the leading UK charity funding a range of projects designed to empower families, influence policy; enable life-changing research and ensure all babies in neonatal care:
More detail about the latest work and achievements of the charity here
Bliss is currently supporting £8.1m of research working with academics, researchers and parent in both small and large-scale projects.
Dr Colin Morgan, Consultant Neonatologist at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and lead researcher on the ground-breaking SCAMP study, funded by Bliss, says:
“We had limited information about early nutrition before now but this study has given us clear results and lots of other important information about how to manage nutrition in the critical period after a baby is born. This research should help improve the survival chances and life quality of future generations of premature babies.”
Bliss offers a wide range of free services for the families of premature and sick babies including a new video call support service.
Bliss Champions provide a vital link between parents, neonatal units and Bliss services, to ensure families can gain access to the information and support services they need. During the pandemic this included a remote volunteering service and a video call support service provided by Bliss volunteers who are normally on neonatal units are available for a one-to-one conversation via video call.
Support for parents: 94% of families in a Bliss survey felt better-informed because of the charity.
Bliss supports neonatal professionals in delivering high-quality baby-centred care – 93% of the country’s neonatal units are signed up to the Bliss Baby Charter.
The Bliss Baby Charter audit and accreditation scheme encapsulates the care, respect and support that the most vulnerable babies should receive. These core principles of family-centred care – known as the seven standards – were developed by Bliss together with an expert panel of multi-disciplinary health professionals.
The charity is involved in recruiting and training more neonatal unit volunteers across all four UK nations
Bliss also creates its own Bliss Journal for healthcare professionals – a bi-monthly newsletter to keep healthcare professions up to date with new research and developments about promoting best practice.
93% of all neonatal units across the UK are working towards the Baby Charter and Bliss received 65 audits last year.
In 2021 we raised an extraordinary £240,000 for Cancer Research UK at a time when the work of this leading UK charity is so vitally important.
In 2018 we had our first baby, a little girl called Ruby, she arrived too soon and we met our daughter as we said goodbye. To our surprise, we found out I was pregnant again the following year. Anxiety was high, however we were especially lucky that our hospital had a Tommy’s Research Centre, the team there included Professor Quenby, a leading expert in premature births. I was monitored from 15 weeks; at 16 weeks a scan revealed complications and I was immediately taken for surgery to try and keep baby in.
I was put on bedrest – ideally, until 36 weeks. By 18 weeks I was fully confined to a hospital room, tilted so my feet were above my head, I couldn’t leave the bed for anything. Five weeks later my scan showed our little one was on their way. It was at this point at 25 weeks and 1 day that I was taken for an emergency C-section and Jacob was born weighing 885g; tiny enough to fit in one of my hands.
“We spent a further 105 days in Neonatal Care, including one lifesaving operation, two further operations, two hospitals, three blood transfusions, five types of breathing support, 24/7 care, 35 procedures, 40 feeding tubes, 45 cannulas, over 50 doctors, hundreds of nurses and 200 blood tests. We now have a wonderful, healthy two year old!”
Knowing we were going to have premature baby meant that we had a lot of time to read about all the possible scenarios we might find ourselves in when our child was born. Bliss was our go to trusted resource for information and guidance and the place recommended by our medical team. They have clear explanations about what to expect when your baby arrives, medical conditions you might experience, how to look after you baby while in NICU, details of what the different machines do, as well as real life stories from other families.
While in hospital Jacob became extremely poorly with a serious condition called Necrotising Enterocolitis (NEC), he needed emergency surgery and lots of speciality care. Bliss provided lots of information about the condition and what treatment options we could expect.
“Before you experience NICU as a parent or carer it’s a completely unknown world, and you face it at the most overwhelming, emotional and stressful time of your life, hope and terror are mingled together. Having Bliss there to help prepare and explain was so helpful and made a huge difference to our understanding and experience.”
Bliss even helped campaign for tiny premature baby clothes to be made accessible and available through their longstanding partnerships with Pampers for Nappies, as even ‘size 0’ was far too big for Jacob. At the first hospital we were at there was also an on-hand Bliss parent supporter; sadly we didn’t have a chance to meet her before we were transferred, but this is another amazing comfort to families.
In addition, Bliss also funds and supports a lot of research regarding premature babies and their care. We were part of a Bliss project about NEC called the ‘WHEAT’ pilot study (WithHolding Enteral Feeds Around Packed Red Cell Transfusion), aimed to determine whether stopping the feeding of a baby during blood transfusion reduces the risk of developing NEC. Currently Bliss is funding research to reduce premature babies’ pain as they are not able to communicate or demonstrate this; Jacob wasn’t able to cry for the first few weeks of his life, so the research Bliss are funding and supporting is so critical.
For us, most importantly Bliss was a key member of the steering group that supported family-centred care within the NICU. Family-centred care means involving the family as much as possible in the daily care and routine of their baby. Many neonatal units now care for babies and families in this way, and Bliss work to help them do this. It meant that we were supported as well as Jacob while he was in hospital. It also meant we were trained to be able to care for Jacob and some of this medical needs to ensure we were as involved as possible and better prepared for life after NICU.
“When you go home from NICU you don’t always get to take a fully healthy baby, many have complications or perhaps leave on oxygen. When Jacob came home we were still required to go back into hospital twice a week and needed some follow up appointments with specialists. Knowing how to look after you baby following such a long time in hospital will all the monitors and medical staff can feel overwhelming, Bliss were there again for us with lots of helpful advice, based in research and were a constant source of support and help.”
When we brought Jacob home he was three months old, but it was also his due date. In some instances, there was information we required as if Jacob was a new-born, but in other instances acknowledged that he was already developing past the initial milestones. In this unique situation Bliss provided a lot of valuable information that was very helpful.
We had never heard of Bliss before we were expecting Jacob, we didn’t know about all the research they do or the support and care they offer, now we are so grateful for what they stand for and do. According to Bliss “Every year, over 100,000 babies are cared for in neonatal units in the UK because they have either been born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy), or full term (after 37 weeks) but sick. This means that around 1 in 7 babies born in the UK are admitted to a neonatal unit each year.” Bliss supports the care of so many of these babies and due to their research allow other families like ours take their premature babies home too.
Jacob is doing really well now, he is two and a half and has the most incredible imagination; constantly telling stories, making up songs and re-enacting his favourite books, he loves the outdoors and generally can be found with a stick in his hand. Back inside he loves helping in the kitchen and is a keen baker. He has been going to Nature Trails Day Nursery since he was 12 months, actual 9 months corrected, their care and support has been amazing.
Jacob is meeting or exceeding all of his developmental milestones but more than that, he is a happy little boy who we are so lucky to have. He had a difficult start to life but demonstrated his strength and ability to pull through adversity. Perhaps because of all the kindness and care he receives, but he is a kind and compassionate little boy who we are eternally grateful to have and who makes us especially proud.
We prioritise the importance of outdoor play at Cedars Day Nursery in Leighton Buzzard. All children at our Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ nursery have access to our large, natural garden area on a daily basis as we recognise the impact that being outdoors has on a child’s social, emotional and physical development. The children enjoy planting vegetables and tasting their produce, served by our dedicated Nursery Chef.
Cedars Day Nursery, Mentmore Rd, Leighton Buzzard LU7 2PA
Tel: 01525 850200