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Helping isolated families with a premature or sick baby.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Families of premature or sick babies living in isolated and rural areas of New South Wales will now have access to vital support following the launch of a new online service.

NutureGroups Online is an initiative of the Miracle Babies Foundation, Australia’s leading organisation supporting premature and sick newborns, their families and the hospitals caring for them. Miracle Babies delivers NurtureGroups which are free out-of-hospital play and support groups for families and carers who have experienced the birth of a premature or sick newborn. Families in regional and rural areas face barriers due to geographic and social isolation that prevent access to important services like NutureGroups.

Funded by a $56,000 grant from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, NutureGroups Online overcomes these barriers by delivering the service in an innovative, digital platform which is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.

NutureGroups Online will deliver the same valuable content as the physical groups, including attendance by health professionals such as speech therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and family support nurses who provide information, assistance and advice on the children’s development.

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Director, Jennifer Leslie said the Foundation Board when it considered the grant application recognised that geographic and social isolation can be a major barrier to accessing health and well-being services.

The Charitable Foundation has supported Miracle Babies’ NurtureProgram since 2016, supporting thousands of new families in regional NSW.

"This new digital solution to bring NurtureGroups to more regional and rural families aligns perfectly with our focus on projects that utilise current technology to deliver services and improve social connections for marginalised and isolated people in regional communities,” Jennifer said.

For families in rural or isolated areas where access to support services is limited, feelings of loneliness and seclusion can become a real issue.

Kylie Pussell, CEO and Co-Founder of Miracle Babies Foundation, says, “We help families when they are at their most vulnerable. Through our programs and resources Miracle Babies helps them navigate the very scary world of welcoming a premature or sick newborn into the world.

“We are so grateful to Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation for supporting our NurtureGroup Online and empowering isolated families through the challenges of this life-changing journey.”

The first NutureGroups Online will launch in NSW Central West region with more groups to be rolled out across the state.

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