Today (16 May) marks the start of National Volunteer Week and Red Nose is sending thanks to our almost 1000 volunteers – including the many involved in our Treasured Babies program.
The Treasured Babies Program began in 2002 as an initiative of bereaved parents who recognised the need for families to be supported with appropriately sized clothing, Angel (burial) boxes, memory keepsake boxes and naming certificates for babies who died during pregnancy or birth.
Each week, a special group of Red Nose volunteers work tirelessly to sew, knit, crochet and assemble thousands of precious handmade garments and keepsakes. They are supported by volunteers at Men’s Shed who build the Angel boxes.
Volunteer Cindy Furby, from Melbourne’s east, has been involved with Treasured Babies since it began, and manager for the past 19 years. She said the program provides practical support that helps families avoid additional stress, allowing them to spend precious time building memories with their ‘angel babies’.
In addition to Treasured Babies, Red Nose volunteers help with our other peer support services – including answering calls devastated parents make to our 24/7 Grief and Loss Support Line 1300 308 307. We also rely on volunteers to run and co-ordinate our community events such as the Walks to Remember across the country. Our peer support volunteers also run face to face and online support groups. These offerings wouldn’t be available without the volunteers.
Earlier this year, Red Nose began piloting our new Footprints program in NSW. Footprints volunteers establish and build relationships with birthing hospitals and shared care GPs, ensuring professionals have the latest information on safe sleep, safer pregnancy programs and knowledge on where to refer for good bereavement care. We aim to roll this program out nationally once our pilot is complete.
We’d like to encourage anyone to please consider volunteering with Red Nose. In addition to supporting programs like Treasured Babies and Footprints, we have many online volunteer opportunities available.
Quotes from Keren Ludski, CEO, Red Nose Australia
“When a baby dies there is often little warning, leaving parents in shock. Having access to the Treasured Babies items, which have been lovingly handmade, can reduce some of the stress at an incredibly traumatic time.
“This National Volunteer Week, I’d like to thank our hundreds of Red Nose volunteers who give their time so generously to our programs and those on our 24/7 Grief and Loss Support Line. It is because of their incredible generosity that we are able to provide support to thousands of families around Australia. We are so grateful to you.”
Quotes from Cindy Furby, Treasured Babies manager
“I have been volunteering with Treasured Babies since the program began 20 years ago and over the years, we have helped thousands of families. I believe every baby should be acknowledged, honoured and be treated as a little person.
“Volunteering makes me feel happy as these families are thrust into awful situations and being able to provide them with lovingly made garments and keepsakes at a time that is already difficult can help reduce the stress for parents.