Charity which helps grieving parents of babies hits half-way target for new £100,000 suite

Founder of 4Louis Kirsty McGurrell with her memory boxes.
Founder of 4Louis Kirsty McGurrell with her memory boxes.

A campaign which will see a new bereavement suite created to help the parents of babies lost before or shortly after birth has been given a £50,000 boost.

Washington-based 4Louis has been chosen by the team at the Sunderland office of the BGL Group, which is a leading digital distributor of insurance and household financial services.

4Louis is raising 100,000 to fund a new suite at the University Hospital of North Durham after fitting one out at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

4Louis is raising 100,000 to fund a new suite at the University Hospital of North Durham after fitting one out at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

The workforce at St Catherine’s Court, on Sunderland Enterprise Park in North Hylton, gave the fund their backing after they were asked which organisation they wanted to support during the next two years as its regional Make a Difference Fund partner.

As a result, 4Louis, which supports families who have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal or child death, is among four funds across the country and one in Paris which has been gifted the £50,000 windfall.

Read more: Baby keepsake charity 4Louis goes international

The BGL Make a Difference Fund offers funding and support to a local charity based close to each of BGL’s five key sites in Peterborough, Sunderland, London, Wakefield and across the channel in Paris.

The  BGL Group team in Sunderland has chosen 4Louis as its charity partner for the next two years.

The BGL Group team in Sunderland has chosen 4Louis as its charity partner for the next two years.

More than 70 organisations applied to be a partner charity and 4Louis was the initiative selected for Sunderland after a shortlist was put to a company vote.

One of the key ways 4Louis helps couples is by producing memory boxes to enable bereaved parents to create a collection of memories.

It now wants to create a bereavement suite at University Hospital of North Durham, in Durham City, following on from the successful introduction of a similar facility at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

The suite will allow parents, family and friends time and space to grieve with their stillborn babies away from the sight and sounds of other families celebrating new arrivals.

Kirsty McGurrell at Souter Lighthouse for the Wave of Light event last month.

Kirsty McGurrell at Souter Lighthouse for the Wave of Light event last month.

It is estimated about 360 people a year will benefit from using the new room.

Related: Lighthouse lit up to raise awareness of Baby Loss Awareness Week

Kirsty McGurrell, a trustee and founder of 4Louis, launched the charity after the loss of her first child Louis, who died 12 days before his due date in 2009.

She said: “4Louis is overwhelmed by the support received from BGL.

"What a difference not only the £50,000 will make to our work, but to receive ongoing support from the team at Sunderland will also help us in making a huge difference.

"The £50,000 will be used towards the £100,000 funding to the new bereavement suite at the University Hospital of North Durham.

"We want to thank all the staff who voted for us and made this possible."

Last month the charity revealed it had worked with the makers of Emmerdale as they wrote scenes about the loss of a baby to characters Paddy and Chas, showing viewers how couples should be supported in the time after their child's death.

BGL’s chief executive, Matthew Donaldson, said: “Supporting the community is part of who we are at BGL.

"We are delighted to partner with 4Louis to make a difference to the many people who will benefit from this project.

"We will be supporting them, not just with substantial funding, but with our people’s time.

“The success of our existing community programme is very much down to the commitment of our people and I know this is a cause close to their hearts.”

BGL Group is aiming to positively impact 250,000 lives and donate £3 million to good causes by 2020.

More information about the charity visit 4louis.co.uk/.