It’s been quite a year. Alongside our work to support hospital staff and patients through COVID-19 – our work to help transform the neonatal unit at East Surrey Hospital has (with your help) continued at pace.
Here’s a quick update on how your donations and support for Olive’s Appeal are already helping babies and families in the new neonatal intensive care / special care unit at East Surrey Hospital.
Olive’s Appeal launched in Sept 2019, and we had no idea how the appeal would go. Just over a year later, and it’s incredible to see how you have got behind the appeal, and had a visible, tangible impact for families from Surrey and Sussex who find themselves with a premature or very unwell baby.
There’s much more we hope to do in 2021 with your help, but here’s our top three things you’ve made possible in year one of Olive’s Appeal.
Despite COVID-19, as the major building work on the new unit was completed your donations helped us transform the new unit into a calming, rainforest themed environment. The colours were carefully chosen, with distinct theming for each individual cot space. The art was funded entirely by your donations and helped transform the unit into something which feels like an outstanding, modern, clean, and calming environment.
Your donations turned this small space into a wonderful cosy room for parents and siblings of premature or unwell babies in the unit. The room was codesigned by local mums with experience of having babies who needed our care and local architects Campbell & Co, who donated their time and skills, it is now open, and being used right now by families in hospital over #Christmas and new year. The room is beautiful, and feels more like a really lovely sitting room, than a room in a hospital. It is stocked with complimentary refreshments for parents thanks to our wonderful friends and supporters Embrace ESH, a local charity set up by former East Surrey Hospital neonatal parents, to support people going through similar experiences. We are hugely grateful to Embrace and their friends for providing the inspiration for this room, helping to bring it alive (including through the beautiful photos from Fable Photography), and of course to everyone who donates or fundraises for SASH Charity/Olive’s Appeal. A real team effort and we are just delighted to see it come to fruition and being used.
Before and after photos - neonatal family room funded by your donations to Olive's Appeal
Finally, just before Christmas, we took delivery of the BEST Christmas present for new babies and families. Thanks to you, we’ve funded the first three (of a target of five) state of the art BabyLeo Incubators. These were made possible thanks to a major grant from the Morrison’s Foundation, and Reigate based foundation the Peter Harrison Foundation.
It was incredibly moving to see these being delivered to the unit (each containing a baby toy, and an Olive’s Appeal postcard). As we delivered them to the neonatal team, we had the opportunity to show them to neonatal mum Keata Murray, who spoke movingly about the impact which seemingly small features of these new incubators will have for babies and parents, for example the integrated scales, which allow baby to be weighed without removing them from the comfortable environment of the incubator, and the ability to adjust the temperature, lighting in the incubators, to monitor sound levels, and to play recorded sounds – for example the mothers voice to the baby.
These also provide better access for staff caring for the babies, with simple but powerful features such as being able to adjust the height of the incubator electronically. Most importantly of all, this also allows easier cuddling of the baby.
The incubators are already being used by premature babies.
In 2021 there’s more we want to do. We hope to raise the funds to provide a final two new incubators, as well as helping transform the overnight rooms where families can stay next to the baby.
Thank you to every single one of you who has helped spread the word about Olive’s Appeal, for the East Surrey Hospital neonatal unit, and everyone who has fundraised or donated. You are making a real difference already.
HOW TO HELP:
Text OLIVE 5 to 70085 to donate £5. (Text costs £5 plus one standard text message).
or donate online now at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/EastSurreyNeonatal