A baby loss charity has appealed for businesses in East Lancashire to support its bid for a memorial tree during Baby Loss Awareness Week.
Friends of Serenity also hopes the week, which runs from October 9 to 15, will open the conversation within workplaces around what can be a taboo subject.
The Darwen-based charity is raising money for a Tree of Life sculpture in the grounds of Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre at Burnley Hospital.
A place to remember
The four-metre high metal blossom tree will give families a permanent place to remember their babies, no matter how much time has passed.
Friends and supporters have been hard at work raising individual sponsorship for the £50,000 appeal, with the total currently at just under £21,000.
Organisers are now hoping the area’s business community will rally behind the appeal to help give the final push towards the goal.
Mark Edwards, who founded Friends of Serenity with wife Jo following the death of their son, Luke, said he was delighted with the response to the fundraiser so far.
Tree yoga pose
A social media campaign, where supporters have been asked to perform a tree yoga pose, post a picture and make a donation, has proven popular in raising awareness of both the charity and the Tree of Life.
Mark, operations director at IT support, telecoms and software provider Seriun, based in Barrowford, said: “We launched the Tree of Life appeal to mark ten years of the charity and it’s been fantastic to see how everyone has taken this project to their hearts.
“We know we can’t do this alone, however, so we now need businesses to help us reach the total to enable the Tree of Life to take root at Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre.”
Mark said businesses could support the appeal in any way they wish – whether making a one-off donation or holding a fundraiser in the workplace.
Fantastic business community
He added: “East Lancashire has a fantastic business community and we know many are already supporting good causes through corporate social responsibility initiatives.
“Employees could get together to hold a coffee morning or cake sale to raise funds, or come up with their own ideas to raise sponsorship. Baby loss, at whatever stage, affects everyone from the parents to the wider family and friends, so the likelihood is that most workforces will include someone who has experienced baby loss.
“We hope that by supporting the Tree of Life, people will also feel able to talk about what can be a taboo subject.”
Rawtenstall-based Viva PR is supporting Tree of Life as a team, with employees fundraising and lending their skills to the campaign.
Managing director Tony Garner said: “Every year we choose a charity to support as a business and the Tree of Life appeal struck a chord for everyone in the team, either through personal experience or from knowing others who had experience of baby loss.
“Knowing that our fundraising efforts will go towards providing a place for families to spend time so close to where we are based has really focused our minds on supporting such a vital campaign. It’s also been interesting to see how talking about baby loss at work has enabled people to open up and share their experiences, which we feel is an important part of supporting wellbeing. We look forward to seeing the Tree of Life take root and provide comfort to thousands of people in East Lancashire.”
You can support the appeal via the Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/tree-of-life