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Vote to help Harlow hospital fund counselling for bereaved parents

The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow is calling on people to support its funding appeal to boost support for parents who are going through bereavement.

Image representing Vote to help Harlow hospital fund counselling for bereaved parents

The Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust (PAHT) is hoping the Aviva Petals fundraiser will enable it to offer a counselling service to parents following the death of their baby. At present families have to travel to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge for counselling provided by the charity Petals (Pregnancy Expectations Trauma and Loss Society).

Petals was set up in 2011 by a group of healthcare professionals working in maternity care. It offers support for pregnancy loss, traumatic deliveries, including postnatal depression, fear of child birth and neonatal loss.

The Aviva Community Fund gives grants to deserving causes through a public voting scheme. The funding would enable Petals to have a counsellor two days a week in Harlow.

Staff at Princess Alexandra Hospital know how important it is for people going through the trauma of losing a child to receive help locally and are hoping they get as many votes as possible to access the funding. Voting is open until Tuesday 21 November.

Debbie Bridgewater, Bereavement Advisor at the hospital, said: "Petals is an amazing service. At present our families who cannot travel to Addenbrookes Hospital, cannot access this counselling service. Petals is a service which sees the parents together as a couple, unlike other counselling services which focus on the women only. So please support this vital service at your local hospital by casting your vote! 

"Just go to the Aviva Community Fund website. To everyone who has already voted, thank you for your support."

A family who are appealing for people to support the campaign relate how the charity helped them:

"Petals have been supporting us for the past five months since our precious daughter died during labour. We have found the counselling sessions invaluable and we would have been so lost without them. We were able to see a counsellor within two weeks of our daughter's death. We have found talking through our feelings has been very important, especially as many of our emotions have been so strong and often conflicting, confusing and uncomfortable. It's also been reassuring to know that some of what we are experiencing is a 'normal' part of grief.

"Losing a baby is such a unique experience and is so very different from any other grief, and this is why Petals specially trained counsellors are so important. Although at times the sessions are exhausting due to the extreme emotional content, we also take comfort from them.

"We see it as an opportunity to talk about our daughter and use her name, something that unfortunately we don't always get the opportunity to do in the 'real world'. Having a Petals counsellor in Essex would make this valuable service more accessible for bereaved parents such as ourselves, who currently have to travel an hours journey each way to access this service" any live viruses.

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