Bereaved parents and their families in Lincoln could be left without the help and support they need after the death of a baby, as Sands' Lincoln support group is under threat of closure.

The Lincoln Sands support group has had to suspend their monthly support meetings until new volunteers are found and trained as befrienders.

Without new befrienders coming forward, the local group will be forced to close down and a valuable resource and much needed support service will be lost.

Befrienders offer support to bereaved parents, and anyone affected by the death of a baby, over the phone and in person at group meetings.

A bereaved parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or sibling can become a befriender as long as they have attended at least four support meetings before undertaking Sands’ training.

Another requirement is that a minimum of two years must have passed since their baby died.

Jennifer Holmes, Chair of the Lincoln Sands group, said: “Giving parents a space and time where they can talk about their child, say their name out loud and receive empathy and understanding from others is so important.

“It’s essential that we continue to provide support meetings in Lincoln because there is little or no support for bereaved parents without payment or a long waiting list, often both. We provide free support and help to all parents for as long as they need us.”

Sands’ groups support parents and family members whose baby has died before, during or shortly after birth and are run on a voluntary basis by parents who have themselves experienced the death of a baby.

Clea Harmer, Chief Executive at Sands, said: “I’m appealing to local people in Lincolnshire and the surrounding areas to help us recruit new befrienders, so we can continue to support bereaved parents and their families locally.

“Many bereaved parents tell us that other parents who have experienced the death of a baby are able to offer real understanding and empathy. We are dedicated to providing emotional support and information after a baby dies for as long as it is needed.”

Recently bereaved and long ago bereaved parents and their families are welcome to drop in for a cup of tea and a chat.

For further information contact Rose Abrehart, East Network Coordinator at Sands on 07707 480020 or email: rose.abrehart@sands.org.uk