Hartlepool baby bereavement counsellor nominated for national award for helping grieving families

A baby bereavement counsellor has been shortlisted for a national award for the help she gives to grieving families.

Monday, 9th September 2019, 5:45 pm
Joanne Morton-Lake of the Baby Bereavement Support Group.

Joanne Morton-Lake of Hartlepool’s Baby Bereavement Support Group is one of just three nominees nationally in line to receive a Butterfly Award.

The annual awards are given out by baby bereavement organisation Finley’s Footprints and which honour survivors of babyloss and celebrates the work of those who support them.

Joanne, 57, has been a counsellor for the Hartlepool baby bereavement group for eight years and has been heavily involved with it for over 15 years.

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She was nominated for the Butterfly Award by a client and colleague.

Joanne said: “I was absolutely elated when I found out, I couldn’t believe it.

“It is a countrywide nomination and I’m down to the last three.

"Even if I don’t get any further I’m pleased.

“I couldn’t believe that someone had actually thought so kindly to put me through in the first place.”

The Baby Bereavement Support Group was founded in 1994 by Joanne’s mum Val Lake, a town midwife.

“When she was working at Hartlepool hospital she realised there was nothing for families who unfortunately had stillbirths or miscarriages and offered to become a support midwife for families.”

The service, which supports between 250 to 350 people a year, recently celebrated their 25th anniversary.

But they have had to find a new home after losing out on £21,000 NHS funding in April which paid for the rent of their premises in York Road.

Joanne added: “Hartlepool Carers very generously offered us space in their new building.”

And following the closure of Hartlepool Bereavement Service in Park Road, also due to funding, the baby group now also provides counselling to adults from the area.

Joanne will attend the black tie Butterfly Awards which take place at Kenilworth, Warwickshire, on October 19.

Finley’s Footprints stated: “This inspirational evening raises awareness of babyloss – whether that be through ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, compassionate induction, sudden loss or loss of an infant following illness.

“Baby loss remains a taboo. The Butterfly Awards provide an important platform to bring this topic into the light.”