A Leeds-based digital marketing agency have been supporting Leeds Hospitals Charity throughout 2020, having chosen them as their ‘charity of the year’ partner.

Thanks to the ongoing fundraising of Search Laboratory, two parent bedrooms on the neonatal unit at Leeds General Infirmary have undergone much-needed refurbishments, costing £14,642.

New flooring, bathroom and shower rooms, and a fresh coat of paint have transformed the bedrooms, where parents of babies cared for on the ward can stay overnight.

Often, due to the distances between home and hospital, parents will cut their visits short because they have long and tiring journeys back home. This means missing out on valuable bonding time and cause an increase in stress and anxiety felt by both the baby and parents. Being able to stay nearby overnight goes a long way to alleviating this.

Parents Keeley and Steve Blackburn spent the night on the ward with baby Brandon. Keeley said: “Thanks to the rooms, we were so close to our baby when things were rocky and we didn’t know what the outcome might be.

“My milk came in the night and I was able to go see Brandon to express the first time. That night was one of the worst in terms of how poorly he was, but I could get up in the middle of the night if I felt things weren’t right.

We are very grateful to the hospital and the ward for all they did and continue to do for our son.”

Kelly Gill, Neonatal Surgery Team Leader at Leeds Children’s Hospital said: “The rooms look incredible and we had families staying in both rooms on the evenings they were finished due to urgent transfers in the middle of the night.”

In addition to fundraising, the team at the Search Laboratory provided pro-bono support during the coronavirus pandemic, helping the charity raise their profile for their urgent fundraising appeal.

Leeds Hospitals Charity was nominated after one of their employees, Scott Hamilton, had a son who was born prematurely and was cared for at Leeds Children’s Hospital.

Emma Clayton, Facilities and Health & Safety Coordinator at Search Laboratory said: “We understand how traumatic it can be to spend time away from home in hospital, so we were keen to fund the transformation of LGI’s parent bedrooms to support those families in need. We’re so pleased that our fundraising efforts have meant that parents and children are now able to spend time in a newly refurbished, restful space that may offer some form of comfort to what is often a haunting experience.”

The Leeds Centre for New-born Care is one of the largest neonatal services in the UK. It provides specialist care to around 1,700 babies each year, many of whom need intensive care or surgery.