Boss of baby loss charity at risk of closure urges government for extra funds

Director of TimeNorfolk Lesley Bradfield. Picture: TimeNorfolk

Director of TimeNorfolk Lesley Bradfield. Picture: TimeNorfolk - Credit: TimeNorfolk

The boss of a charity which supports women and partners who have experienced baby loss through miscarriage, stillbirth or termination has warned it needs urgent funds to survive.

People at a previous TimeNorfolk commemorative service in Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Steven Brooks

People at a previous TimeNorfolk commemorative service in Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Steven Brooks Photography - Credit: Steven Brooks Photography

TimeNorfolk, which is based in Oak Grove Community Chapel on Catton Grove Road, Norwich, has helped hundreds of people across Norfolk since it was formed 23 years ago.

Director of the charity Lesley Bradfield said due to coronavirus, fundraising activities have been cancelled, and TimeNorfolk has enough funds to carry on for 10 months.

Mrs Bradfield, 67, said: “In Norfolk we are the only service that offers free face-to-face counselling. Since March we have taken a big hit with our fundraising. It has been difficult. We have been starved of seven months worth of fundraising events. There is a risk that if we don’t raise more funds we would have to wind down.”

It costs £80,000 to run each year and employs five part-time staff and trains 20 volunteers.

A row of candles from a previous TimeNorfolk Doorway of Hope service at Norwich Cathedral. Picture:

A row of candles from a previous TimeNorfolk Doorway of Hope service at Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Steven Brooks Photography - Credit: Steven Brooks Photography


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Fundraising and donations makes up for 23pc of its yearly income and 47pc comes from trust funding.

Mrs Bradfield added: “Everything is to the bone. We keep our outgoings to a minimum. The charity landscape is difficult. So many people want a bite of the cherry.”

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“We are saving the NHS and the third sector money. We are asking the government to help us.”

She said the long-term impact of people not getting specialist help after suffering a pregnancy loss is mental health problems with some experiencing self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

MORE: Bereaved parents invited to remembrance service for babiesThe charity’s main aim is to do face-to-face appointments when possible.

“The most important part of this work is seeing someone come in with a huge weight and darkness around them but as they make progress they look lighter and brighter. They will never forget their baby loss but we give them hope for the future,” said Mrs Bradfield.

She added that over the past four years there has been an increase of 128pc in women, partners and relatives seeking support from the charity.

Visit www.timenorfolk.org.uk or call 01603 927487.

Woman encouraging people to get help

“I went home, cried, felt very sad and went to work the next day without speaking about it.”

That is the hard-hitting account of a woman who is urging people to seek help after losing a baby.

The 46-year-old from Norfolk, who wishes to stay anonymous, had a miscarriage with her first and only pregnancy aged 42 before her 12 week scan.

She benefitted from telephone counselling from TimeNorfolk from March-July this year after realising the impact of the loss on her mental health.

She said: “I didn’t realise I was carrying this grief. I dusted myself down and a couple of days later cracked on with my life.”

The now self-employed worker only told a few relatives and close friends.

But over the next few years she became angry, lost her self-esteem and did not get involved in social occasions.

She realised she needed help after breaking down in tears on the side of the road after hearing a radio story about IVF last summer.

After revealing to her GP she was struggling to cope she was referred to TimeNorfolk through the NHS Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney service.

She added: “I still have my moments but I feel joy again. I still imagine being a mum but it doesn’t hurt anymore. I would say to anyone who suffers a baby loss don’t wait to get support no matter how okay you feel at the time.”

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