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County's first breast milk donor hub opens in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 10:29 04 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:54 08 October 2019

Keith Grisedale from Norfolk Blood Bikes with a breast milk donation. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Keith Grisedale from Norfolk Blood Bikes with a breast milk donation. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

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The county's first breast milk donor hub has opened its doors in Norwich and has received its first supply.

The Norfolk breast milk donation hub has it's first delivery. Picture: Ella WilkinsonThe Norfolk breast milk donation hub has it's first delivery. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Keith Grisedale, who is involved with the scheme, said before the hub, which is based at Hellesdon Hospital, opened this week, milk had to be transported from the Queen Charlotte Hospital in Chelsea.

The hub will help premature babies, mothers whose babies need short-term donor milk to help establish their own supply and mothers who cannot breastfeed for medical or practical reasons.

Mr Grisedale said: "Nine times out of 10 we had that much milk we were going down [to Chelsea] in a car so it turned in to a five-hour journey.

"Five hours is a long time when a very, very sick baby depends on that milk. They're fighting for every ounce of life they can get and this hub is increasing their chances of survival.

Norfolk blood bikes are helping in need mothers by delivering donated breast milk.. Picture: Ella WilkinsonNorfolk blood bikes are helping in need mothers by delivering donated breast milk.. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

"It will also save on the delivery time to the babies in need because we'll have the milk here.

"If you look at the time from here to the Norfolk and Norwich [University Hospital], it's 20 minutes. Compare that with five hours - that's a big difference."

The hub at Hellesdon Hospital is one of only a handful in England and Wales where milk is stored.

Mr Grisedale said the donated milk will benefit families in Norfolk, with the hub "reaching out to a community that hasn't been helped before".

The Norfolk breast milk donation hub has it's first delivery. Picture: Ella WilkinsonThe Norfolk breast milk donation hub has it's first delivery. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

When collected, the milk will be stored in freezers at the milk bank until it is taken to a family in need.

The hub is run by the Human Milk Foundation and SERV Norfolk, which has blood bikes that already carry blood, plasma, platelets, samples and vaccines to hospitals around the county.

Funding for the project came from the Norfolk Freemasons Charitable Fund, which donated £8,776 to get it off the ground.

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