WHO ARE TIMENORFOLK?
TimeNorfolk aims to spread hope after pregnancy loss. We do this by offering time to listen, time to grieve and time to heal. We provide free, confidential support to women and men who have experienced a pregnancy loss through miscarriage, termination or stillbirth. We also provide care for women who are facing an unplanned or complicated pregnancy or have other pregnancy related issues such as post-natal depression and infertility. As a registered charity operating in the Norfolk area, we offer time, compassion, information and practical support at the point of need through a team of dedicated trained volunteers and staff. Our work is centred purely around pregnancy loss. Bereavement of a baby is like no other bereavement because “you don’t have the memories that others have when you lose a baby”.
We are a small team of five paid part-time staff but we consider ourselves very lucky to have a large and very wonderful team of highly skilled volunteers.
WHAT IS THE NEED?
We have been supporting people in all areas of Norfolk, but due to limited resources (both financial and staffing) our main activities have been centred in or close to Norwich where we have a permanent base.
However, we are experiencing a large increase in the number of referrals from the Great Yarmouth area, particularly from the midwifery service at the James Paget Hospital who have nowhere to send heartbroken ‘parents’ at their time of need. Many people here are also struggling with poverty and some with language barriers meaning they find it impossible to travel to Norwich to receive the help they need.
The population of people in Gt Yarmouth is growing (1/3 are 16-44 years old), so the need for our services in a location that they can get to is incredibly important.
Reaching people and supporting them in the right way immediately after they suffer a baby loss will prevent so many mental health difficulties from developing into a critical situation. Sometimes we are seeing people long after their baby has died and by then many are struggling with guilt, severe depression, anxiety and total isolation.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that my counselling has saved me".
WHAT IS THE PLAN?
Last year we launched our service into Great Yarmouth with counsellors seeing clients for 1 1/2 days per week. The response was incredible with a waiting list being needed almost straight away. For year two, it's important to us that we increase the time we have available to see women and men who have been affected by pregnancy loss, so our plan is to be able to increase our service to support clients over 2 days.
Our target of £2,250 is 10% of our overall annual running costs to bring this vital support service to Great Yarmouth and the surrounding areas. As an entirely self-funded charity our team work tirelessly to raise additional funds through grants, trusts and fundraisers.
WHAT IMPACT WILL IT HAVE?
During the 22 years that we have been supporting men and women, through their darkest moments, we have heard of the breakdowns in mental health and relationships of individuals, couples and families. Their ability to continue to cope with the death of a baby would be almost impossible without the specific counselling and listening that an organisation such as TimeNorfolk provides.
"Our beautiful baby was born still, she was beautiful and perfect in every way, we never heard her cry. We spent time with her, asked for her footprints as a momento and had to leave her. I'll never forget the long journey home without our baby. My arms ached to hold her, I felt empty, part of me died too, I felt broken."
Unresolved, these problems may go on for years and can result in long term serious mental health conditions. These issues can prevent people from maintaining employment or engaging in studies, and can have serious financial and emotional effects on the family too.
"Prior to me finding out about TimeNorfolk, I was withdrawn, hated myself and I felt I was being punished for my loss".
The expected outcomes of this project will be to restore a 'new normal' life for bereaved parents in and around Great Yarmouth. Unless they receive the right support they can remain locked in this bubble of despair, hopelessness and isolation and in several cases feel there is little point in continuing with their own life. This is not only a terrible situation for these women and men, but adds to the difficulties of our already under resourced mental health and well-being services. The dramatic change in depression and anxiety levels that we have witnessed and recorded before and after TimeNorfolk's help is quite amazing.