In December 2014, we were granted permission by Bassetlaw Hospital, located in Worksop, North Nottinghamshire, to renovate Birth Room 5 on the labour ward into a multi-purpose Family Suite, with priority given to bereaved families.
The quote for the work was £35,000, much more than the £15,000 originally discussed, however it meant the room would receive a complete refit from floor to ceiling. After many discussions with the Hospital, a three-year target was set to raise the funds and team JOEL went on their way to fundraise and raise awareness of the project within the local community. Luckily, the community completely embraced the project and amazingly the funds were raised within 10 months of the initial target! The money came from donations, sponsorship for running, swimming, cycling, skydiving and lots of bag packing, and so much more.
Once we had raised the money, there were many stumbling blocks and Hospital Trust changes that delayed the project, but we persevered and started weekly steering groups which were chaired by JOEL and attended by trustees, hospital staff, and building contractors. Eventually, we were given the green light and work started on Tuesday 3rd May 2016.
To enable us to renovate Birth Room 5, there were many enabling works that needed to be completed first: the old Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU) had to be stripped and painted to allow Pregnancy Assessment to move in. Birth Room 2 had to have a disabled access shower fitted as we were removing this facility from Birth Room 5. The observation bays were now moved to the old Pregnancy Assessment location and the bays were converted into Birth Room 6.
Eventually, work started, and colours, themes, furniture, and fittings were chosen with much consideration and care. We wanted the room to not feel like a space in the Hospital, but a tranquil home from home setting, allowing families to spend time and make precious memories with their baby or babies. The room had no window so an artificial window was designed using lightbox technology and the colour scheme chosen for the room was bright and incorporated each colour of the rainbow.
On completion, the room is breathtaking and we are beyond proud. The room has been created with love, using the experiences of bereaved families who have used the room previously, including some committee members. Families only have a short time to make as many memories as possible; the room provides them with a safe and comfortable environment to do this.
From everyone at team JOEL, we would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who supported this fantastic and precious project.