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Sands Australia Welcomes Funding Boost

Sands Australia welcomes the recent decision by the Australian Government to increase the charity’s funding by a further $640,000 over the next two years.

The much needed increase will allow Sands to further expand our reach and support services to a greater number of bereaved families across Australia whilst also allowing the charity to develop a new programme of activities to improve the care and support families receive by healthcare professionals, funeral home directors and employers.

Sands is a not-for-profit organisation that provides emotional support, information and hope to parents and families who experience the death of a baby. All Sands Volunteer Parent Supporters understand the heartbreak and devastation that follows the death of a baby, as they too have experienced it.

Sands Australia CEO Andre Carvalho said that the $1.46 million to be provided over the next two years – up from $822,000 – would go a long way to supporting Sands vision of an Australia where no bereaved family is left feeling alone and isolated following the death of a baby.

"Despite the many advances in technology, research and medicine in the last decade, the rates of early pregnancy loss, stillbirth and newborn deaths has not changed. Sadly, approximately 96,000 Australian families experience the death of a baby each year.” Mr Carvalho said.

"Since first receiving funding from the Australian Government in July 2011, Sands has made great strides in supporting bereaved parents. We launched our National 24/7 Support Line and our live web chat support services, distributed key resources and delivered thousands of information sessions to midwives and healthcare professionals across Australia."

"Under the increased funding, Sands Australia will now be able to reach more parents, distribute more brochures and resources to where they are needed and train healthcare professionals, funeral home directors and employers on how to provide high quality care and support to bereaved families." Concludes Mr Carvalho.

Sands would like to thank the Australian Government for recognising the need for bereaved families to have access to support and information. Whilst this funding boost is welcomed, Sands will continue to work hard to develop philanthropic relationships with individuals and corporate organisations to ensure we can continue to grow and meet our vision of supporting all families that experience the death of a baby.

Sands’ Jenny Miolin Volunteer Award Winner Announced

Janina Faulkner PhotoJanina Faulkner, a volunteer with miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death charity, Sands, has today, been announced as Sands’ Inaugural Jenny Miolin Volunteer Award winner for 2017.

Awarded during National Volunteer Week, the Jenny Miolin Volunteer Award acknowledges and celebrates the outstanding contribution and achievement of volunteers across Sands nationally.

Janina, from Kalamunda, WA, first contacted Sands in 1985, after her son Keith was stillborn. She says that she was desperately seeking to talk to someone who understood what she was feeling.

After engaging with Sands, she decided to get involved as a volunteer and has held and continues to hold many volunteering positions within the organisations.

She has been a Volunteer Parent Supporter, providing essential support to bereaved parents for numerous years. In 2014, she was elected as President of Sands WA and continues to be re-elected due to her extraordinary commitment and dedication. In 2015, Janina was nominated as Vice Chair of Sands Australia.

Under Janina’s leadership, Sands in WA has grown from strength to strength, providing vital support to more bereaved parents, than ever before.

Janina has worked tirelessly to establish working relationships within hospitals across Western Australia so that healthcare professionals are aware of the support that Sands can offer and have confidence to refer their bereaved families to Sands.” Said Lyndy Bowden, Chair, Sands Australia.

Janina is also dedicated to ensuring that rural and regional areas of WA also have access to essential services. Sands will soon be in a position to launch Local Support Meetings in WA’s South West and the North East at a later stage.

“Janina puts her heart and soul into all her work for other bereaved parents and her passion is an inspiration to everyone at Sands. She is a very deserving winner. I’d also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and congratulate the other seven nominees for the award for their fantastic contribution and thank all Sands Volunteers, without whom Sands would not exist”. Added Lyndy.

Ann Kinnear, CEO of Australian College of Midwives (ACM) and member of the Judging Panel for the award added “The volunteers across Sands offer invaluable support to grieving parents which comes from a place of loss and grief that they themselves have experienced and still feel. They offer an exceptional service and I add my voice in honouring them. Thank you to the volunteers for giving their own time to help grieving parents.”

On receiving the award, Janina said “I am very grateful to receive this award and would like to thank all my fellow Sands volunteers – we’ve achieved what we have because of teamwork.”

“It’s an honour to support bereaved parents through their grief journey so that they do not suffer alone, or in silence. I always think back to what I wanted when my baby, Keith, died. I just desperately needed to be understood.”



Sands is a not-for-profit organisation that provides emotional support and information to parents and families who experience the death of a baby, as well as offering resources and education to healthcare professionals. Sands Volunteer Parent Supporters offer a real sense of understanding and hope; they too have been through the devastating loss of a baby.

Every day in Australia, 7 families are faced with the devastating and heartbreaking tragedy of their baby dying during or shortly after birth.

The Bereavement Midwife - #International Day of the Midwife

On the eve of #International Day of the Midwife, we’d like to share a piece of poetry, written by Nikki, a midwife. Written as a way of debriefing, she wrote this with tears in her eyes.

The bereavement midwife
By Nikki

Sad looking Midwife small

You'll never know the way we felt, when we looked into your eyes.
You'll never know the tears we cried, the tears that we disguised.

Your courage in your time of loss, powered us, in keeping strong.
While you were mourning your baby,
We were mourning along.

You showed us strength and bravery, you reminded us how to love.
You showed us all your weakness, and how to rise above.

We trusted in your process, your strength to carry on.
We trusted in your little light, and how brightly it had shone.

We probably apologized a lot, a thousand times you heard "I'm sorry."
We tried to help you plan some things, things that didn't need your worry.

Sorry didn't cut it, but it's all that we had.
There was no words we cold possibly say, to take away the bad.

You never asked for any of this,
For that we truly know.
All you wanted was the pitter patter, and to watch your baby grow.

It was all you ever wanted, and it's all you never had.
But hold tight to all those memories,
For one day you'll be glad.

You'll be glad you had this gift, who grew inside of you.
Who felt your heart beating, and every single thing you'd do.

This is such a special part of you, the life you grew inside.
And all those memories you've got right now, one day you won't want to hide.

We use our big and fancy words and sometimes they aren't straight.
You need to know, we think of you, when we're not working, when it's late.

You aren't just another person, and neither is your baby.
You weren't a distant memory, a thought that just turned hazy.

You taught us things, we're grateful for, you'll never understand.
And you taught us those things while you showed us your pain and silently held our hand.

We never wanted to see you lose, your precious little gift.
We never want to see you down, the pain we wish we could lift.

If we could do it now, we'd make it all just cease.
We never want to see you cry, the fear and questions, we wish we could ease.

There was no words that we could say.
To take the pain, take it right away.

You mightn't hear us weep, because we didn't think it right.
But what you didn't know, is we sat weeping for you through the night.

A baby is meant to stay. To learn and flourish and grow.
But for you that hasn't happen, and that is our deepest sorrow.

We want you to know how hard it was, to sit with you, at this time.
To know we couldn't stop this, to know how to not cross that professional line.

Everyday you think of your baby, were probably thinking of you too.
Every time you cry for your baby, we're hurting for you, it's true.

You might not have felt that we heard you, heard your silent scream.
But the truth is that we did, we just did it behind the scene.

We send you off to live your life. To make some dreams come back.
We often think of you, and your sweet baby, and hope that you're on track.

We send you all our love now, we mean it from our heart.
We send you all the happiness and wish you safety in the new life you've had to start.

Your pain will ease a little, you'll learn to live this life a new.
Your baby's memories will always be with us, and we'll always be thinking of you.

New Support Groups for New South Wales

GroupSupportMiscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death support charity, Sands Australia, is re-launching local support services in New South Wales, after a 16 year absence in the state.

Local face-to-face support groups for parents who have experienced pregnancy loss and newborn death will start in the inner west and northern suburbs of Sydney and Central Coast region from 24 April 2017.

Sands CEO, Andre Carvalho said; Although Sands support services are available nationally through our Telephone Support Line, Email and Live Chat facilities, we are very excited to have re-established a physical presence in New South Wales.

New South Wales parents will now be able to attend local face-to-face support groups and benefit from meeting and connecting with other parents who are experiencing the heartache of pregnancy loss and newborn death.

Over 29,200 babies die as a result miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death in New South Wales each year.

All Sands’ support services, including local face-face support groups are facilitated by Volunteer Parent Supporters who understand the pain and devastation that follows the death of a baby, as they too have experienced it.

Tina Riley, one of the facilitators of the face-to-face support groups, says she hopes that she can help bereaved parents feel less isolated and scared.

Tina’s first born, Charlie died two minutes after he was born. She soon fell pregnant with her daughter Neve, who was born sleeping at 41 weeks. Tina went on to have Maya, now 8 and Zack who is now 6 years old.

I know firsthand what it is like to have your baby die. To feel so alone and not know where to go.

After Charlie and Neve’s death the midwives where amazing but apart from information about funeral services, there was no other information. I had no idea what was to come and where I could get support from.

As the days, months and years passed, I felt increasingly isolated. We had nowhere to turn to and no one who really understood to talk to. Said Tina.

Tina only come across Sands some years after Charlie and Neve’s death. Hugely impressed with the support on offer, she trained to become a Volunteer Parent Supporter with Sands and began using her experience to help other grieving parents.

To bereaved parents reading this, please know that you are not alone and that your baby will never be forgotten. It is a hard journey – an emotional rollercoaster with many twists and turns. Please know that Sands is here for you to listen, comfort, support and guide you whenever you feel like reaching out.

Sands will continue to establish more local services in New South Wales, including running more face-to face support groups, memorials and other events and information sessions for midwives and healthcare professionals.

Local Face- to Face Support Group Meetings Details

Inner West Sands Face-to- Face Support Group - Rozelle
Last Wednesday of the each month, commencing 26 April 2017
7.00pm 9.00pm
Hannaford Community Centre, 608 Darling Street, Rozelle, NSW 2260
More information: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact 03 9895 8700
Northern Suburb Sands Face-to-Face Support Group – Eastwood
Last Wednesday of each month, commencing 26 April 2017
7.00pm 9.00pm
Brush Farm House, 19 Lawson Street, Eastwood, NSW 2122
More information: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact 03 9895 8700
Central Coast Group Sands Face-to-Face Support Group
Last Monday of each month, commencing 24 April 2017
7.00pm 9.00pm
Laura’s Place, 449 Tumbi Road, Wamberal, NSW, 2260
More information: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact 03 9895 8700