Northamptonshire charity worker invited to 10 Downing Street

SANDS trustee Vanessa Kinsey-Thatcher
SANDS trustee Vanessa Kinsey-Thatcher

A mental health nurse was recently invited to 10 Downing Street for her charity work.

Vanessa Kinsey-Thatcher, who works as a Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) Nurse for Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, was invited to the reception by Samantha Cameron, wife of the Prime Minister, along with other representatives of Sands, the national charity which supports parents who have experienced stillbirth and neonatal death.

Vanessa became involved with Sands in 2007 after losing her first daughter Emily in October 2006, and is now a trustee of the charity.

She has since gone on to have two healthy daughters aged six and four.

Vanessa said: “I became involved with Sands initially because of my personal experience but I now work with the charity to help provide bereaved parents with support through individual befriending and meetings to find some comfort at this tragic time.

“We offer a range of support including a befriending service to help those who have been recently bereaved, and also offer training to midwives.

“For example, we offer training on taking photos in a sensitive way to give the families a momento to keep for after the baby has passed.

“I was delighted to be invited to the Downing Street reception to talk about the important work that Sands does.

“It was a pleasure to meet Samantha Cameron and she was very interested in the work of the charity.”

Vanessa gave a speech outlining the priorities of Sands. The three core aims of Sands are:

O Supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby

O Promoting research to help reduce the number of baby deaths

O Working with healthcare professionals to continue to improve the quality of bereavement care.

In her day job, Vanessa works as a CAMHS Specialist Nurse, currently working as NHFT’s LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) specialist, supporting young people who have mental health needs relating to their sexuality or gender identity.

Patrons of the charity include actor David Haig and Rogue Traders presenter Matt Allwright.

A spokesman for Sands said: “In spite of medical advances, the shocking reality is that each day in the UK 11 babies are stillborn and six die within the first 28 days of life.

“We were very pleased to be invited to Downing Street as anything that helps raise the profile of our charity is always welcome. We are very grateful for the work of people like Vanessa and all our other volunteers.”

For more information about the work of Sands or if you want to know how you can support them, go to www.uk-sands.org.

There is also more information on the Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire branches of Sands on these websites:

Northamptonshire Sands

Bedfordshire Sands