Bereaved parents and their families in Norfolk could find it harder to access the help and support they need after the death of a baby, as the local Norfolk Sands support group is short of volunteer befrienders.

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

The group used to meet every month but now meets every two months. The frequency could be reduced even further if new befrienders are not found.

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

New befrienders would need to successfully complete Sands’ training and a minimum of two years must have passed since their baby died. Bereaved grandparents and other family members are welcome to become a befriender.

Clea Harmer, Chief Executive of Sands, said: “I’m appealing to local bereaved parents, grandparents and family members in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and anywhere in Norfolk to help us recruit new volunteers, 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.”

The Norfolk Sands group support meetings take place bi-monthly on the second Thursday of the month from 7.45pm to 9.45pm. Bereaved parents and their families are welcome to drop in for a cup of tea and a chat.

For further information visit: www.norfolksands.org.uk or the group's Facebook page.

Norfolk Sands also works in partnership with Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital and James Paget Hospital to support them in providing the best care and facilities for bereaved parents.

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