The Birmingham branch of Bliss, the UK charity that provides care and support for premature and sick babies and their families, has received a welcome boost courtesy of a local building society.
Customers at the West Brom in Soho Road, Handsworth, voted for Bliss to receive £500 as part of the Society’s Community Counts scheme.
The money will go towards Bliss activities, which range from supporting families with counselling, a telephone helpline and peer support, to vital research and campaigns to improve facilities, especially in Neonatal Intensive Care Units.
The charity also funds Bliss Nurses - there are five in the UK - including Cheryl Curson, whose region covers Birmingham Women’s Hospital, Good Hope in Sutton Coldfield, City and Heartlands Hospitals.
Cheryl said: “Neonatal Intensive Care is highly-specialised and expensive to provide. Bliss believes babies have the same rights as everyone else, so it’s our aim to continually seek to improve the facilities and services available, for the babies and their families, and so every donation, large or small, is an important contribution and well received.
“We’re very grateful to the West Brom, their staff and the customers who voted for us. It means a lot.”
The £500 was presented to Cheryl, and Bliss Regional Volunteer Co-ordinator Alia Hussain, by Chan Nandhray, Manager of the West Brom’s Handsworth branch, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Birmingham Women’s Hospital.
Chan said: “A visit to the unit is quite humbling when you see the fantastic care that is being given to these often tiny babies.
“It’s been lovely to talk about Bliss, and the work it does, both to my own colleagues and to customers who embraced it by voting for it to receive this grant. It’s a very special and worthwhile charity.”
The West Brom’s Community Counts initiative has provided all of the building society’s 37 branches with their own £1,000 pot to share between three local good causes. Customers have the final say on how the money is divided.
In Handsworth, people also chose to provide £250 each to BID Services, which supports people with a sensory impairment, physical disability or mental health issues, and Birmingham Mind, which provides recovery-based services that promote mental wellbeing and health.