Sands 40th anniversary
Networks & Volunteering Team, Sands | 14 September 2018

Claire Roberts – Cardiff & Newport Sands

Current role/activities – Treasurer, Befriender, hospital Liaison, Editor and publisher of our newsletter

Heatherjane Coombs, Welsh Network Coordinator said: “Claire was part of the group that set up the group, she often gets up at silly o’clock to cheer runners on and take team photos at half marathons etc.  Claire runs all of the group’s social media, does all the media posters and registers all the events and just so much more.  She really is Cardiff & Newport Sands.”

Claire said: “In 2005 our daughter Seren was stillborn, at that time Cardiff and Newport Sands didn't exist, I relied on the Sands forum message boards for support, this is how I came into contact with other local bereaved parents who wanted to set up a local support group. In 2006 Cardiff and Newport Sands was created. I have been there since the beginning, volunteering myself as treasurer (which when the accounts are due in I do wonder why I volunteered for that part!). I now am a befriender running the next pregnancy and Rainbow baby support groups, liaise with the hospital, and also manage the groups social media accounts and newsletter. Along the way I have made some friends for life, who understand. Sands got me through some very dark times and I wanted to give something back in memory of Seren.”


Q&A with Claire

When did you get involved with Sands?

I first got involved with Sands in about May or June 2006 when I got introduced to another bereaved parent (Heatherjane) at a Forget-me-not Walk in Llandrindod Wells as she was looking to set up a group in Cardiff. The group went on to be started in October 2006.

When my daughter Seren was stillborn at 27 weeks on 5th November 2005 a midwife scribbled the name Sands on a piece of paper and gave it to me. I got home and looked it up on the internet. There was no local group to me at the time so in those early weeks I spent a lot of time on the Sands forum talking to other bereaved parents, which at the time was a massive help and support. Today I am still friends with some of those people I met on the forum.

What are your activities and what do they involve?

I am a befriender with Cardiff and Newport Sands helping with our monthly support groups, mostly our next pregnancy and our rainbow baby meetings. I am group treasurer, I am also in charge of the group’s social media, which includes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I edit our newsletter and send out emails with any events that we have coming up. Also, I work in the NHS and through my work have a lot of interaction with midwives and obstetricians so I am also our group’s hospital liaison as I speak to a lot of them on a weekly basis anyway.

Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?

What makes me proud is Cardiff and Newport Sands group. We started with little funds and at the time only ran a monthly support group and supported one hospital. We (Heatherjane, Caroline and I) have been there since the beginning, I now count them as really good friends and we work together well as a team. From that one monthly support group in 2006, we now have three different monthly support groups, and support three local hospitals. Without this group local bereaved families would be without support.


What other organisations or causes do you support?

When I'm not doing Sands volunteering I am also a volunteer with Girlguiding helping with a local Brownie and Guide unit. Breast Cancer Care is another charity close to my heart as our family has been affected by the disease. At Christmas time, I always send Christmas cards from two charities, Sands and Breast Cancer Care. 


Claire has been nominated as part of 40 volunteers for #Sands40. Join them at Sands 40th Anniversary Conference on 17th November 2018 in Glasgow. 

Sands is marking its 40th anniversary this year and we would like to say thank you for the incredible support and contribution that our dedicated volunteers make across the UK to support bereaved parents and anyone affected by the death of a baby. 

We will be hosting an awards ceremony during the Sands 40th Anniversary Conference to celebrate the wide range of volunteering involvement in Sands and acknowledge 40 volunteers for their dedication and commitment. 

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