Harrogate baby bereavement charity to host its biggest event yet

The Our Angels team at their balloon release last year.
The Our Angels team at their balloon release last year.

A Harrogate based baby bereavement charity has organised its largest event yet in an effort to improve the support given to families affected.

The charity and support group, Our Angels has partnered with the University of Bradford Midwifery Society for their annual conference to give students and professionals the benefit of skills and experience in supporting bereaved families.

Students and members of the University of Bradford's Midwifery Society. Picture: Gemma Brice

Students and members of the University of Bradford's Midwifery Society. Picture: Gemma Brice

The event will run at the university’s Horton Barn on Saturday February 4 and will be attended by around 250 student midwives and over 100 trained midwives.

Chris Binnie, Trustee of Our Angels said: “Our Angels has been going as a support group since 2009 but as a registered charity only since summer 2015.

“We’ve funded study days for midwives before in groups of 20, but this is definitely a first for us, a 400 delegate conference is a totally different level from anything we’ve ever done before.

“Some of the speakers are serious players in this field, so it’s a real coup for us.

“We have also commissioned a film company to film all the presentations so we can make them available to anyone via our website as an educational resource.”

The event is being funded by Our Angels, and has been organised by midwifery students while juggling a degree and placements.

The conference will feature several speakers who have a range of skills and experience in midwifery, baby bereavement support and charitable work.

Mr Binnie said: “Providing this type of professional training is vital to help equip midwives with the tools needed to support bereaved parents and families in their darkest hour.

“Good quality care cannot make the pain of losing your baby go away, but it can contribute to making the experience just that little bit easier, which can make all the difference.

“The quality of care a family receives in this situation - good or bad - stays with them forever, which is why getting it right first time, every time, is so important.”

Gemma Brice, Vice-President (BRI), University of Bradford MidSoc, sits on the organising committee for the conference and reinforced how vital the event is for student midwives in particular.

She said: “This conference was predominantly devised with student midwives in mind.

“Getting bereavement support right the first time under the guidance of a mentor is something we believe is crucial in order to develop as compassionate practitioners and is often the first step to opening up the dialogue surrounding the loss of a baby.

“Student midwives are ideally placed to support families during this devastating time and are able to be with woman 24/7 if necessary.”

“Providing excellent bereavement care can mean all the difference to the emotional well-being of the parents and the memories they make in such a short and precious time.”