Sands is a national charity, but we understand that geographical and community influences can affect how, when and where people grieve.
The support Sands offers in Scotland is increasing and adapting every day, and Sands will continue to help support everyone across the country, in whichever way is needed.
Below is an overview of Sands' work in Scotland.
Sands Support in Scotland map:
Local support groups in Scotland
There are 10 support groups and over 50 trained befrienders in Scotland who can offer peer support either within groups, through activities (e.g. walk and talk), or through telephone or online support.
In-person peer support is offered by all 10 groups in different locations across Scotland. Some groups also have a separate rainbow group which provides support for those who have a baby following a loss.
Forth Valley Sands
Dumfries and Galloway Sands
Western Isles Sands
Get in touch: Phone: 01851 708301
Sands United FC Glasgow
Sands Glasgow Run Club
Get in touch on Facebook.
Sands United FC and Glasgow Run Club
Sands United FC Glasgow provides a unique opportunity for bereaved men to come together through a shared love of sport, find a support network, and feel at ease talking about their grief when they're ready.
Sands United teams can display their babies’ names on their kit.
The Glasgow Sands Run Club which provides an opportunity for anyone to meet at a network of Park runs around Glasgow & the West of Scotland.
Get in touch via Facebook.
The Sands National Helpline provides a safe, confidential place for anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby. Whether your baby died long ago or recently, we are here for you.
The telephone helpline is free to call from landlines and mobiles on 0808 164 3332.
You can also email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening Times and Confidentiality
The team are available to speak to on the telephone from 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday and 6pm to 9pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Please note we are not open during bank holidays unless stated on the website.
We offer support on the telephone for up to one hour. This can be for a one-off call or a number of calls over time.
We aim to respond to all emails within 48 hours, except over the weekend when the helpline is closed. The team also respond to emails from outside the UK.
Calls and emails are confidential. We will not share information outside of Sands, except if there is an immediate risk of harm to you or someone else.
Visit our Sands Helpline page to find out more about who we support, who responds to your calls and what to expect.
Online Community and Support Meetings
Sands Support Meetings
There are currently twice monthly online support meetings which can be accessed by anyone across the UK, as well as a monthly Men's Online Support Meeting, Online Support Meeting for bereaved families from black communities and Online Support Meeting for bereaved families from South Asian communities.
These meetings are facilitated by trained befrienders and can be attended by a maximum of 12 people (Men's Online Support Meeting has a capacity of 10)
Sands Online Community and Groups
They can be used 24 hours a day and many parents have said that it is extremely useful for them to have the opportunity to share their stories and photographs with others who can identify with their journey.
National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) in Scotland
The National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) for Pregnancy & Baby Loss in Scotland provides dedicated pathways that are designed for all healthcare professionals and staff who are involved in the care of women, partners and families at all stages of pregnancy and baby loss.
Sands is leading the development of the NBCP Scotland alongside a number of other baby loss charities, Royal Colleges (RCM, RCN, RCOG), other professional bodies and the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government’s Best Start Plan for maternity and neonatal care requires that all NHS Boards in Scotland will have begun the implementation of the NBCP by the end of 2023.
Within the Best Start Programme the Scottish Government require that in every case where a family is bereaved, they should be offered access to appropriate bereavement support before they leave the unit, and each maternity and/or neonatal unit should have access to staff members trained in bereavement care.
Reducing the risks of stillbirth in Scotland
The Scottish Government's new public health campaign focuses on ways to reduce the risk of stillbirth and was launched in February.
The campaign, which is the first of its kind in Scotland, offers important information to pregnant women to help reduce the risk. It includes sleeping on your side, not smoking and monitoring baby's movements - the advice which our research has contributed to, helping save more babies’ lives.
Watch the campaign video to find out more.
Memorial Gardens in Scotland
Sands has memorial gardens, spaces and statues across Scotland, which provide quiet places for bereaved parents and families to remember their babies.
Most have memorials markers of some type and in many there is an opportunity to add their babies name to this memorial. They are scattered throughout Scotland in the following locations:
Fife - Area of Reflection in Lochore Meadows
Aberdeen - Hazelhead Cemetery, Hazelhead Park, Trinity Cemetery
Dumbarton - New Dumbarton Cemetery
Kirkcaldy - Hayfield Cemetery
Macduff - Myrus Cemetery
Peterhead - Balmoor cemetery, Aden Country Park
Irvine - Knagerhill Cemetery
Wishaw - Memorial Tree at Wishaw General Hospital
Dumfries - Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary , St Michaels Cemetery
We can also provide information about other council owned memorial gardens throughout Scotland.
Bereavement Support Book and App
The Sands Bereavement Support Book
The Sands Bereavement Support Book is available both in digital format and in hard copy and has now been translated into 9 other languages (Arabic, Bengali, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu, Ukrainian, Welsh and Simplified Chinese).
An “easy read” version of this book is also available for parents with learning difficulties or neuro-diverse conditions which may make understanding medical language an issue.
The Sands Bereavement Support App
This Sands Bereavement Support App signposts bereaved parents, families or anyone wishing to get instant information at a time that suits them. It can also be used by Sands Bereavement Support in Scotland 3 healthcare professionals who wish to provide current and relevant information to healthcare professionals who wish to provide current and relevant information to those who need it.
Specific Support for Siblings is available and includes age-specific workbooks; and there is also support for those who are long-ago bereaved.
Support for Healthcare Professionals
Sands provides training for professionals, enabling them to safely support parents and families through pregnancy loss or the death of their baby. Sands training is accredited and available across Scotland and the UK. It is delivered by specialist facilitators and the resources are regularly updated to reflect emerging research, new guidelines and evolving clinical practice.
Bereavement in the Workplace
Sands’ Bereavement in the Workplace Training and toolkits help employers build a compassionate and supportive work environment.
Through our consultancy services we help organisations develop and implement best practice to ensure bereaved parents receive the support they need when they need it most. We can support statutory, voluntary and corporate services on all issues relating to the death of a baby, ensuring that organisations and individuals have the knowledge, skills and confidence to work with the bereaved.
To find out more about Sands training, click here.
Hospital Liaison Volunteers
Sands Hospital Liaison Volunteers (HLVs) provide a vital link between hospitals and Sands services. We are working to ensure that every hospital in Scotland has access to a Hospital Liaison volunteer who can signpost to support services, training, resources, and bereavement care guidance.
Safer Pregnancy website
Sands’ Safer Pregnancy website signposts women to evidence based information around risks in pregnancy and delivers pregnancy messages in an easy and accessible way.
To view the website, click here.
Sign up to receive the latest updates and information on research, policy, campaigns, and professional support direct in your inbox.
Memorial Events in Scotland
Sands support groups in Scotland often organise local events, especially around Baby Loss Awareness Week and Christmas and are advertised on their local websites.
Sands also organises an annual Sands Garden Day Remembrance Event and an annual Lights of Love Event, both of which have been held online for the last couple of years making them accessible to bereaved parents and families in Scotland and across the rest of the UK.
Return to in person meetings, Glasgow Sands, May 2022.
Sands Beach in Aberdeen, Sands Awareness Month, June 2022.
Information event, Elgin, August 2022.
Lights of Love service, Tayside, December 2022.
Sands Training provided to Shetland Bereavement Support Service, December 2022.
Lights of Love service, Forth Valley Sands, December 2022.
Tree at Wishaw General Memorial Event, March 2023.
Sands memory boxes are a fundamental tool for professionals to deliver good bereavement care, because they help families to establish a positive connection with their babies by utilising the items inside to record details, produce physical evidence of their babies’ lives and start forging a parental bond that will endure after saying goodbye.
We are currently trialing a memory box to be inclusive of the customs of other faiths.
Voices of Baby Loss podcast
Voices of Baby Loss podcast, developed by Sands, explores the impact of pregnancy and baby loss, gives you a chance to hear about people’s personal experiences, and learn more about the work being done to support bereaved families and save babies’ lives.
The podcast is hosted by Jen Coates, Director of Bereavement Support and Volunteering at Sands, and Caroline Verdon, broadcaster and journalist. Both have been personally touched by baby loss.