Sands save babies' lives and support bereaved families with the help of our incredibly dedicated volunteers. There are a number of ways to volunteer with us.
Sands Befrienders play a vital role in offering support to bereaved families throughout the UK. Many of us know first-hand how much comfort and support a befriender can give. The reassurance of talking to someone else who has been affected by the death of a baby and who is nearby to phone or to meet in a group is invaluable. Sands is very proud to be able to offer this service and we are hugely grateful to the many volunteers around the country on whom the service relies.
Are you ready to befriend?
Befriending is an emotionally demanding role, and both you and we need to be sure you are ready to take it on and have suitable support for yourself. If befriending isn’t right for you at this time, that’s ok. There are many ways you can get involved and support the work of Sands. To find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can, of course, continue to access support for as long as you need it.
To help us decide with you whether you are ready to befriend, we have a number of checks in place that we will take you through when you apply.
Sands United FC
Sands United FC is a unique way for dads and other bereaved family members to come together through a shared love of sport and find a support network where they can feel at ease talking about their grief when they're ready.
The teams also commemorate their babies' all too brief lives by proudly displaying their names on the kit worn for every match.
Each team member helps make a difference by raising vital funds to help Sands save babies' lives and support bereaved families.
Hospital Liaison Volunteers
Sands Hospital Liaison Volunteers (HLVs) are instrumental to Sands' work with healthcare professionals, by meeting with and offering Sands resources and services to them.
Our aim is to ensure that every hospital in the UK has access to a HLV to signpost and promote Sands support services, training, resources, and bereavement care guidance (where applicable) enabling healthcare professionals to provide excellent bereavement care.
The HLV role advocates for parents and hospital staff by providing essential feedback, enabling Sands to support health professionals and parents better.
Knit for Sands
Sadly demand for Sands Memory Boxes remains constant and our stock of hand knitted or crochet blankets need to be maintained.
These blankets are a very special part of the box as each is handmade and we have been told how much comfort they bring to parents after the death of their baby. The pattern is very simple as it can be knitted with or without the lace edging.
Please note that for a number of reasons we ONLY use WHITE blankets. Please can you spread the word to family and friends. The knitting and crochet patterns can be downloaded below.
Get involved in research studies
Researchers often contact us to ask if we can help them find parents to take part in their studies. Usually, they want to hear about parents’ experiences of stillbirth or neonatal death and/or the care they receive (before and/or after the birth). We advertise opportunities to become involved in research on our Facebook page.
Study design and oversight
We are often approached by researchers who want to involve members of the public with specific experience in their proposed study. This is called patient/public involvement (PPI), and it’s now a vital part of health and medical research. PPI can take different forms: you might be asked your opinions over the phone, or at regular meetings with the research team and/or other lay people, for example. Or you may be asked for your opinions on written information that has been produced for potential participants in the research.
General information about PPI and getting involved in research has been produced by INVOLVE, which supports PPI in UK health research. You can also register your interest in helping with research with the National Institute of Health Research here.
Sands Cheer Squad
Sands’ community of dedicated fundraisers participate in a range of challenge events throughout the year. The money they raise allows Sands to continue vital work in helping to save babies lives and supporting bereaved families.
Our cheer squad is an invaluable part of the fundraisers experience, and we would love you to get involved. It is a chance to join Sands’ community, meet new people and support Sands’ runners as they fundraise.
All you need is lots of enthusiasm, a kind and friendly manner and energy to dance, cheer and wave on our amazing Sands runners!
We are looking for cheer squad volunteers for the following events:
- Sunday 10th September - Great North Run 2023
- Sunday 1st October - Cardiff Half Marathon 2023
- Sunday 8th October - Royal Parks Half Marathon 2023
- Sunday 7th April - London Landmarks Half Marathon 2024
- Sunday 21st April - TCS London Marathon 2024
Starlight Walk Marshal
Volunteer for #TeamSands at one of our Starlight Walk events this winter. Our Starlight Walk series is a 4-6km (Depending on location) route where supporters walk at sunset in memory of their babies. Without the support of our wonderful volunteers at these events, they simply could not happen. Join us in Edinburgh or Birstol as a route marshal, encouraging people along the route and making sure walkers are heading in the right direction.
We are looking from route marshals at the following events:
Starlight Walk Bristol, Saturday 11 November
Starlight Walk Edinburgh, Sunday 19 November
Parent Speaker Role
Sands Parent Speakers ensure the voice of bereaved parents is central to our work, particularly our training for professionals. We are looking for individuals who are comfortable talking publicly about their personal experience of pregnancy loss or baby loss, to help inform and educate and to break the silence.