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May 29, 2019

NICU Foundation and South West Neonatal Network launch new animation for parents of premature babies

The NICU Foundation says it has launched a first of its kind animation and partnership with the South West Neonatal Network with the aim of raising awareness and funds for the 12 neonatal units in the region, that reaches from Gloucester to Truro.

An event at Clevedon Hall in North Somerset welcomed doctors, nurses and consultants who were able to learn more about the new partnership and how the funds raised by the charity can support neonatal units across the region.

They heard from speakers including founder of The NICU Foundation Charley Maher, South West Neonatal Network Manager Rebecca Lemin and Consultant Neonatologist at Southmead NICU Dr Paul Mannix, about the benefits that this new partnership will bring and the plans in place to boost fundraising.

Funded by The NICU Foundation, the animation was premiered during the event. It aims to help alleviate some of the worries that new parents may have about the unfamiliar environment, equipment and everyday noises of the unit during an already unsettling time.

The animation also shares information for parents such as the benefits of interacting with and holding their baby, the facilities and support available and the staff they will meet throughout their journey. The animation has since been uploaded to The NICU Foundation and South West Neonatal Network websites and will be distributed for free across the UK and abroad.

Charley Maher and her husband Lee founded the foundation in 2014 following the birth of their son Harrison at just 29 weeks' gestation. Charley was inspired by the care she received throughout her stay at various neonatal units and has since raised thousands of pounds for equipment and staff training for Southmead Hospital in Bristol, including a new Baby Pod, temperature regulation suits and staff training to help spot early signs of cerebral palsy.

Charley says: "As anyone who has had a child in NICU will tell you, it's one of the most stressful and frightening times of your life. Our new animation aims to comfort new parents that often have limited places to turn to find out more about the environment they have suddenly found themselves in."


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