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Update Baby Memorial Garden University Hospital of North Durham May 2023

baby memorial

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust will begin preparing for a programme of demolition and construction works on site at University Hospital of North Durham this month.

The works will ultimately create more space for positive future developments on the site and is part of the Trust's plans to continually improve patient care and experience.

During week commencing 19 June, hoardings will be erected around the area known as the 'east wing corridor' and Dryburn House. These areas are located to the front of the Emergency Department entrance at the hospital and include the current Baby Memorial Garden.

This work has necessitated the relocation of the baby memorial garden and following a series of engagement events with families who have plaques and memorabilia in the garden, a location and design for the new replacement garden has been agreed.

Based on the engagement with families a series of design ideas have been agreed and are being taken forward to create the new space in line with the views of those families involved.

When the hoardings are put in place it will not be safe for families to access the area and attend the current garden.

Therefore, specialist contractors will remove all plaques and memorabilia in the current garden and place in secure storage until the new garden is ready for the relocation to take place.

This means that from Friday 16 June, the current garden will not be open for visitors to protect health and safety and to allow the relocation work to begin.

Please note, however, that from the end of May you will notice increased fencing and activity around the area as preparations are made for the demolition to begin.

The Trust appreciates this may cause distress to some families and we sincerely apologise for this - we must make the area safe to carry out the work but understand not being able to visit the garden during this short period of time will be extremely difficult for some.

Some families have chosen to already remove their plaques with the support of a specialist contractor and not relocate them to the new garden. If there is anyone who would still like to do this please contact Paula Brennan (details below) as soon as possible and we can make the necessary arrangements.

All remaining plaques and memorabilia will be photographed to ensure plaques and additional items remain together where appropriate and then placed in safe and secure storage until the new garden is ready.

When the new garden is ready, the Trust will contact families to arrange for the relocation of the plaques and memorabilia. Currently, we expect work to be completed on the new garden by the end of July.

During this period, the top soil from the current garden will also be relocated.

When the work is complete on the new garden and the plaques and memorabilia have been relocated, the Trust will work with families to organise an official opening of the new space.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to get in touch:

Paula Brennan, Patient Experience Manager on email: paulabrennan@nhs.net or telephone 0800 783 5774.

'I am writing to congratulate you on your wonderful staff you have working for you at DMH.'

Patient, Catering / Porters / Domestics, Darlington Memorial Hospital