Three Years of “Tabitha’s Trust”

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After three years of running the Charity (2013-2016), I feel this is a good opportunity to recognise some of our accomplishments and share some of our goals 

We were established as a Charity in April 2013 just 8 months after the death our first daughter Tabitha Fox Kissack, in August 2012.  We found that there was no easy way to access information and guidance locally, after the loss of a child. And not all the services that are available on the Island, are accessible by all. My husband and I had never planned a funeral, we had bills from repatriation costs, travel expenses as our daughter was born and passed away in Liverpool Women’s Hospital, and absolutely no help or support was offered to us. We were trying to support our then 8 year old son through the loss of his sibling, and manage all the practical things that seem so straight forward normally, but are daunting and frightening after losing a child.

As set out in our Charities application and listed on the Isle of Man Charities Registry we (Tabitha’s Trust) provide services, support and equipment to families who have experienced the death of a child. We are primarily made up of four Trustees who manage and run the Charity. Our Trustees are :

Christopher Kissack
Victoria Kissack
Stephanie Tiesteel
David Johnson

We readily give our evenings and weekends, and work around our own family and work commitments to ensure the Charity is reaching its objectives. We rely on volunteers to fund raise, support and raise awareness of the Charity.

Some of the ways we have provided help, support and services in the last three years (2013-2016) since becoming a Charity are:

  • In November 2013 and February 2014, donating four “Cuddle Cots” at £1,600 each. These are a cooling system that are placed under a Moses basket mattress, lay on your arm or lap, allowing families to spend an extended amount of time with their baby; after they have passed away. Two were donated to Liverpool Women’s Hospital, one to Nobles Hospital Maternity Ward and one to Rebecca House Children’s Hospice
  • In May 2013, we began supplying knitted and crocheted items known as Care Packages to ensure even the smallest of babies were wrapped in something made with love. These are made and donated by so many wonderful volunteers. We also donate little gowns made from donated wedding and occasion gowns, which helps raise awareness within our Island’s community of the amount of families affected by pregnancy and baby loss. These are given to families on Ward 4, the Early Pregnancy Unit, the Jane Crookall Maternity Ward, Special Care Baby Unit, the Mortuary and can be posted directly to families
  • In June 2014, we donated 10 “movement monitors” to the Health Visiting Service. These are given to families who have experienced the loss of a baby through late miscarriage, still birth, neo-natal death or cot death, who maybe cannot afford a monitor (they range from £69 to over £100) or if they would benefit from using one with a subsequent pregnancy
  • We regularly donate “Memory Boxes” to the Jane Crookall, Special Care Baby Unit, and Mortuary, which enable families to keep items to remember their baby / babies – they includes a complimentary posy of flowers from a local florist for your child’s funeral, as well as keepsake items and support information. As well as items donated by other local and UK agencies who support the work we do
  • We began supplying Ward 4 (EPU) with Miscarriage Association leaflets in June 2014, and regularly replenish this resource
  • We have donated a new digital camera, printer and multiple memory cards to the Jane Crookall in 2015. This was requested by some of the staff, so that families are able to have photos stored safely
  • In January 2016, we began with donating over 200 books through our Out Reach Project to all of the primary and secondary schools and all the public libraries. These books are support material for a child / parent / family member who have experienced a death of a child, sibling or friend. We have continued to donate books and resources
  • Our website that launched in early 2015, is constantly updated. It holds all the practical help and information that you would need after the death of a child. We have a comprehensive list of local and UK support agencies and their contact information
  • We sourced and held two study weekends in 2015, in conjunction with Nobles Hospital. These weekends were extremely well received and empowered members of staff from The Jane Crookall, Ward 4 (EPU), Cruse, Rebecca House, sonographers, mortuary staff, health visitors, practice nurses and more; with better knowledge and understanding of how bereaved families are affected. Both after the death of a child and how to better support families in a subsequent pregnancy. New pathways of care were created because of these study weekends
  • We hold a monthly support group for those affected by pregnancy and baby loss
  • We developed the first dedicated Bereavement Suite – the Forget Me Not Suite, housed within the old Special Care Baby Unit at Nobles Hospital
  • Began developing our own Befriender Scheme, which offers  1:1 support for adults affected by the loss of a child

We work with and support local organisations who provide complimentary services, and services that we don’t. The one thing we are asked for time and time again, and that we don’t currently offer is a dedicated counselling service. None of the Trustees are qualified or able to offer a counselling service, but we understand this is the one thing we as bereaved families want and need. The death of a child is like no other, and having someone who has experienced something similar is sometimes the only way we can feel truly listened to and understood. However, we are able to signpost you to organisations that will be able to help. This is done in a few ways, either by visiting the Support Directory, by contacting us directly via email, Facebook, or phone.

Sometimes, we take a while to get back to messages, emails or returning phone calls; and on rare occasions, we might even forget to reply at all. This is not a regular occurrence, and I apologise to those who we have missed. Please just get back in touch. We run the charity alongside our own work and family commitments, we are only human and sometimes we make mistakes.

We are small Charity, founded on our own experience of child bereavement. We cannot compete with bigger charities, and sadly, we do not have the funds or resources to provide a tailored service for individual families. But we have made a good start on improving the care and information given to families. We have helped to improve and change a lot in the past three years, and whilst we haven’t ticked everything off our list of wishes for the future, we are making steady progress. We always want to hear from families about what they think could be improved. We then work on these suggestions and make them our goals.

Tabitha’s Trust are honoured and humbled to have our work recognised both locally and nationally. We have been nominated, shortlisted and received several local and national awards.

Manx Radio Dream Catcher Appeal “Heroes in the Community Awards” – Winner Parent of the Year 2014

Forward Ladies North West & Isle of Man Regional Awards “Not for Profit” and “Rising Star” – Shortlisted 2014, 2015, 2016

The Butterfly Awards “Inspirational Mother” – Winner 2014

Isle of Man Newspapers Pride in Mann Awards “Charity & Volunteer Category” – Winner 2015

Isle of Man Newspapers Pride in Mann Awards “Charity & Volunteer Category” – Nominated 2016

The Butterfly Awards “Committed Baby Loss Volunteer” – Winner 2016

Please contact us email support@tabithastrust.com or call 451835 / 829105 if you have any questions, suggestions, comments or want to help us in any way.

We will get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you for reading

– Victoria, Trustee

Read more about Tabitha here

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Artwork kindly donated by Janice Farnan Photography

© 2015 - 2016 Tabitha’s Trust
All Rights Reserved
Isle of Man Registered Charity No.1134.