Mothers’ Union members support the parents whose children stay at the JR Hospital in Oxford in a variety of ways.
There is a Ronald McDonald House on the top floor of the Children’s Hospital and members donate tea, coffee, hot chocolate, toiletries, cleaning products and up to date magazines for the residents there. From these donations the hospital makes up emergency bags which are given to parents who arrive in the Emergency Department and whose children are admitted to the wards. An up to date list of requirements is sent to each branch early in the year and the donations of items is rotated around the diocese We also make a small cake to go in the Christmas hampers that parents receive.
Members also provide new pyjamas for children who have died to wear when the parents go to view them. Older children are wrapped in new duvets. This is because hospital usually wrap bodies for viewing in plastic shrouds which are not very child friendly. We have made special cushions on which to place babies at this sad time so that this experience is less clinical. Treasured memory kits are also given so that families have a record of all their children’s hand and foot prints when one child in the family dies.
In addition, some people work with the chaplaincy team to visit the parents on 3 of the wards to provide a friendly face to talk to: some children stay in hospital for a long time and at the JR children come from far and wide, so are not always local to the hospital, whilst others are only admitted for a short period of time, but the effect on all families is enormous and an opportunity to chat is often very welcome.
Other hospitals around the diocese (eg, Reading, Milton Keynes and Stoke Mandeville) are supported too by donating emergency toiletries to those who find themselves in A & E.
Collections are divided up amongst the Archdeaconries through the year:
South Bucks: March /April
North Bucks: May/ June
East Berkshire: September/October
West Berkshire: November/December