The Serenity Suite: A Haven for Healing Hearts

Losing an infant during, or before, birth is a devastating and traumatic experience. Until now, there were not suitable facilities in South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire, England, for the mothers and families who were experiencing this loss. They had to say goodbye to their babies in a busy labor ward, hearing other families celebrating the cries of healthy newborns around them. This often made an already extremely difficult experience even more painful, so District 105-N Lions decided to create the Serenity Suite facility, a specially designed space for families and parents to stay while dealing with the devastation of infant loss.

The Serenity Suite is located inside the Doncaster Royal Infirmary facility in Doncaster, England. It allows families to take time and space to mourn and begin the long, painful process of coming to terms with losing a child either prematurely, during childbirth or soon after childbirth. The Serenity Suite is part of the larger charity campaign by Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Charity, called “The Serenity Appeal."

The Suite is self-contained in a soundproof environment, equipped with a bedroom, kitchen, study area, bathroom, shower room and a storeroom, beautifully decorated and outfitted with soft furnishings and appropriate lighting, in order to provide as much support as possible during such a highly sensitive and emotional time.

Richard Parker OBE, Chief Executive at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals says, “For the families who go through this heart-breaking experience, the suite will now provide a comforting and private space, where all their needs are met, easing their pain with support from our specialist bereavement midwifery team.”

Serenity Suite 2

Consultation between District 105-N Lions and the Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust set this project up for success. Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) provided a Matching Grant of US$20,000 for this project and the Lions used local fundraising efforts to increase community awareness. Thanks to the Royal College of Nursing, the infirmary also received a special visitor, Princess Anne. In September 2023, The Princess Royal unveiled an official plaque recording the royal visit and the opening of the Serenity Suite.

The hospital estimates that 45-50 mothers and their families will benefit from the Serenity Suite each year. While speaking about the new space, bereavement midwife working at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Rhian Morris says, “The Suite will help give the families a more comfortable, private environment to stay in, and give them time to make everlasting memories with their baby. Giving them the time to say hello, whilst saying goodbye.”

Matching grants provide capital funding to help establish or expand Lions-initiated humanitarian service projects that address critical and diverse human and social needs around the globe. They encourage Lions to identify what their community needs and the grant can help make it a reality.

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