Sands works to reduce the number of babies dying and to improve care and support for anyone affected by the death of a baby. Sands NI has a Network Coordinator based in its regional office in Portadown, who supports the work of Sands Befrienders in the 10 support groups currently active in the Northern Ireland network. The support groups offer monthly support to bereaved parents across Northern Ireland.
Sands NI provides Improving Bereavement Care training to health professionals in Northern Ireland. They hold an annual bereavement conference for health professionals in association with the Royal College of Midwives in Belfast. The charity also provides bereavement photography training in association with Gifts of Remembrance photography. They are also committed to providing each of the five acute NI hospitals with a fit for purpose bereavement suite, which is a safe, peaceful place for parents to grieve and spend extra precious time with their babies.
Sands promotes and funds research that could help to reduce the loss of babies’ lives. Sands NI has donated a total of £150,000 to the Sands’ research fund in the past few years
Sands was founded in 1978 by a small group of bereaved parents devastated by the death of their babies, and by the total lack of acknowledgement and understanding of the significance and impact of their loss.
Since then, Sands has played a key role in raising public awareness of baby death across the UK, supported thousands of parents whose babies have died, worked closely with Health Care Professionals to improve the care bereaved parents receive, and funded much social and medical research to help better understand why babies die and prevent such tragedies.
Today, despite Sands’ successes, there is still much work to be done, not only in supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby, but in striving to reduce the baby death rate which remains unacceptably high in the UK.
Sands has over 100 support groups in 10 networks across the UK. Sands Northern Ireland (NI) Network is part of the UK Sands network.