Sands has received funding from the UK Government’s Department for Health and Social Care to help meet the increase in demand for the charity’s services as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The new Government grant will help Sands to support both thousands of bereaved families across the UK and frontline NHS staff during the pandemic.

Sands Chief Executive, Dr. Clea Harmer says: “People affected by the death of a baby and NHS staff need the support of Sands more than ever and we are hugely grateful to the Government for recognising the crucial role Sands is playing in these unprecedented times. This much-needed funding will be vital in ensuring we are able to continue to support anyone left devastated by the death of a baby; reduce the burden on the NHS by giving hard-pressed staff the emotional and practical support and information they need; and offer pregnant women support and information  during these uncertain times which will help save babies’ lives.

“This funding comes at a crucial time for Sands as we see a substantial decline in our fundraising income and an increase in demand for our services; it will allow us to continue to meet the demand from thousands of anxious parents."

Sands has seen an increase in demand for its bereavement support services as the pandemic has impacted on the ability of bereaved parents to spend time with their babies making precious memories, and has created  extreme difficulties in arranging funerals and accessing crucial support and information. 

Sands is also directly supporting stretched NHS staff by developing and equipping them with the skills, information and confidence to support bereaved families, as well as providing support to staff themselves.

The funding will be crucial in ensuring that Sands continues to adapt its services and respond to the crisis over the coming months by:

  1. Increasing capacity on its free helpline so that the charity can meet the demand from bereaved families and the increase in calls, including those  from anxious women who are pregnant again after the loss of a baby 
  2. Adapting Sands bereavement services so that we can provide more effective support online 
  3. Continuing to support and maintain bereavement care standards across the UK
  4. Developing and equipping NHS staff with the skills, latest information and confidence to support bereaved families when the worst happens and  to provide support to NHS staff themselves 
  5. Promoting safer pregnancy messaging for pregnant women during these uncertain times which will  help save babies’ lives 
  6. Supporting urgent research looking at the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy and perinatal death