A new Baby Garden has opened at West Berkshire Crematorium to provide a dedicated peaceful place for families to visit after a pregnancy loss.
To help mark its opening the crematorium has donated £1,000 each to three local organisations who support families facing such a loss.
The money was raised through the crematorium’s metal recycling scheme.
Site manager Stephanie Langford said: “The loss of any loved one is a difficult and distressing time for families, but the loss of a baby can be particularly heart-breaking.
“I wanted to provide a specific place at West Berkshire Crematorium for families to visit after a pregnancy loss.
“The Baby Garden is for the scattering of remains and will be available for any child but it has primarily been designed to provide a specific place for the pregnancy loss of less than 24 week gestation cremations we carry out on behalf of Tomalin and Sons Funeral Directors and the Royal Berkshire Hospital.”
The Baby Garden is a small, tranquil area within the grounds of the crematorium, with baby memorials and a tree for scattering around.
Stephanie added: “Children can still have individual plots in the main grounds, but we wanted to create an additional tranquil area for families to go to after a pregnancy loss or baby death.”
West Berkshire Crematorium is part of Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner and operator of crematoria and cemeteries, with 35 sites across England, Scotland and Wales, all set within beautifully-landscaped gardens of remembrance which provide pleasant, peaceful places for people to visit and reflect.
Midwives from Royal Berkshire Hospital, alongside representatives from Willows Support Group recently visited the site to plant bulbs in the Baby Garden.
Both organisations have been given a £1,000 donation from the crematorium’s metal recycling scheme, along with SANDS West Berkshire.
With the consent of families, metals recovered during cremation are recycled and any money raised is used to support charities and other worthy causes in the communities surrounding each of Westerleigh Group’s crematoria.
The £1,000 for the hospital is for its rainbow care services. A ‘Rainbow pregnancy’ is a term used to describe pregnancy after the loss of a baby through late miscarriage, stillbirth, or an early neonatal death.
The hospital has a Rainbow Care Clinic, which opened in 2018, which offers specialist antenatal care and support, not only through the difficult time of loss but also to help with possible anxieties and concerns over subsequent pregnancies.
Willows Support Group was formed in 2008 by a group of parents who wanted to share their experiences with others who would understand. The group provides vital support to parents who have been through, and continue to suffer from, the loss of a baby.
Sands West Berkshire is the local branch of the UK’s leading stillbirth and neonatal death charity in the UK.
It aims to help reduce the number of babies dying and to also ensure that anyone affected by the death of a baby receives the best possible care and support for as long as they need it.
Stephanie said: “All three organisations provide such vital support to local families during extremely distressing times and we are particularly proud to be able to make these donations which will enable them to continue their work.
“We all have the same aim, which is to provide some comfort and care for those who need it most.”