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Baby bereavement charity gets funding boost

A baby bereavement charity has been given a funding boost.

Left to right back row: Fundraiser Steve Waltho, specialist midwife Holly Haden, founder of the Saleem Foundation Councillor Shaz Saleem, CEO and principal of Dudley College of Technology Neil Thomas. Left to right front row: Director of human resources DcoT Kathryn Jones, fundraiser Anumit Kaur and founder of Ronnie and Friends Aimee Garratt

Charity Ronnie & Friends was given a helping hand thanks to the fundraising efforts of staff and students at Dudley College of Technology and the generosity of the Saleem Foundation.

As part of activities supporting national Baby Loss Awareness Week, learners at the college raised over £850 for the charity.

And a generous donation of £1,000 from the Saleem Foundation has bolstered their fundraising efforts further.

Ronnie & Friends was founded to support Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust's charity baby bereavement suite appeal by college employee Aimee Garratt in memory of her son Ronnie.

Benefiting from the support she received from the midwifes and the sanctuary of the specialist bereavement delivery suite at Russells Hall Hospital, Aimee was motivated to set up her own charity to help other mothers receive the kind of support she valued.

She said: “After the loss of my baby I wanted to do something to help other people going through this dreadful time and I knew how much the specialist facilities and staff had helped me cope with the trauma of my experience, so it seemed right to try to help the hospital build a second purpose built delivery suite. I’m delighted to have the backing of not only my family and friends but my employer too, in helping the fundraising effort.”

Learners from across the college ran coffee mornings, offered free beauty treatments in exchange for fundraising donations and sold raffle tickets with prizes donated by businesses.

Chief executive and principal of Dudley College of Technology Neil Thomas said: “Ronnie & Friends is one of three charities that the college has chosen to support this year, as it is a cause close to the heart of many.

"The grief that families feel, and the value of their babies’ lives is often seen to be very private matter and not publicly acknowledged, which is something we wanted to help redress.

"We have over 500 students studying health and care related programmes and have been able to draw on the expertise of the bereavement team from Russell’s Hall Hospital who have worked with students to educate them about this subject. This year is the 20th anniversary of Baby Loss Awareness Week, and awareness raising continues to grow.”

After hearing of the fundraising activity, Councillor Shaz Saleem, founder of The Saleem Foundation charity, also donated £1,000 to the cause, which chimed with the foundation's values to support serious causes across Dudley in a broad range of areas including mental health and wellbeing.

Holly Haden, specialist midwife and bereavement lead at The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, received the donation on behalf of Russells Hall Hospital.

She praised the efforts of everyone involved saying: “One in four pregnancies results in baby loss so, this impacts on hundreds of people every year. Over 50 families used our specialist suite last year and they tell us it provides some comfort to them. We need to raise £45,000 to build a second suite and thanks to efforts such as these we are well on our way.”

Anyone wanting to donate to Ronnie & Friends can do so at

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