‘No parent should ever have to choose between their children.’
Noah’s Star, a project run by Sociability Care CIC, allows parents to spend quality time with their sick and preterm babies without having to worry about their other children. Noah’s Star runs a sibling support group at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, providing an area for children to play, and activities to occupy them whilst their parents spend time with their poorly baby.
What is Noah’s Star?
Sociability Care CIC was officially incorporated in June 2016 and supports individuals challenged by disability or prematurity by providing three core services including training and consultancy, a fortnightly support group for individuals with disabilities and their family members, and a volunteer led sibling support service for families of premature babies – Noah’s Star.
Sociability Care was founded as a result of founder, Jo-Anne’s, personal experiences. In July 2015, Jo-Anne’s twin sons, Oscar and Noah, were born at just 25 weeks. Sadly, Noah only lived for 30 hours and at only three days old, his brother Oscar suffered a stroke which led to bleeding on both sides of his brain. Thus, Oscar has cerebral palsy and, due to his prematurity, also has chronic lung disease. Even during this extremely difficult and emotional time, Jo-Anne was determined that Noah’s life would matter, and make a difference to other families.
When the twins were born, the family was faced with many challenges, one of which related to the care of their 9 year old son, Benjamin, and juggling his needs whilst caring for newborn Oscar and coping with the loss of Noah. The requirement for Oscar to be at the hospital meant that Benjamin also spent many hours there, and Jo-Anne identified a need for a service that could reduce some of the challenges for parents in similar situations.
Noah’s Star provides a safe and fun place for siblings of sick and premature babies to play, as well as reassurance to parents, allowing them to spend the time required with their newborn. In addition to the free sibling support service, Noah’s Star volunteers provide support to parents in the form of a person to talk to, or simply bring a cup of tea to those unable to leave their baby.
If successful, what will you use your LoveBrum funding for?
The need for this service is apparent with 1,541 babies admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Birmingham Women’s Hospital in 2016 alone. Noah’s Star currently have 45 volunteers but, with the help of funding from LoveBrum, will grow this number and recruit more volunteers in order to expand their project outside of just the one location at Birmingham Women’s Hospital.
Noah’s Star also hopes to expand with a ‘stay and play’ group, as it can be very isolating for parents once their baby discharged. Often the sick child cannot mix with other children, which restricts the parents. Stay and Play would provide activities and a playgroup for parents whilst they are already visiting the hospital for check ups, where they would be able to socialise their baby in a clinical environment, as well as socialise themselves with like minded parents who understand.
Cost of project
Where can people go to find out more about Noah’s Star?
Jo-Anne Shellum, Founding Director
Tel: 07535 696 9854