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28th Hydref 2020

TV presenter, Jean Johannsson, has honoured the founder of a Scottish charity supporting bereaved parents through lockdown with a National Lottery Award.

Julie Morrison set up the Baby Loss Retreat charity after the loss of her daughter Erin who was stillborn at 37 weeks in 2003.

Julie (40) and her husband, Bryan (47), from Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, wanted to help families trying to cope with the death of a child by providing a quiet environment in which to process their loss. In 2018, with the help of a National Lottery funding they founded the Baby Loss Retreat.

The charity offers counselling and support to families who have suffered any baby loss resulting in miscarriage, stillborn or neonatal death. The Baby Loss Retreat also provides weekends away, free of charge, to bereaved parents at three different locations in Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway and the Highlands. Each of the retreats is a peaceful hideaway to help with the grieving process and an opportunity to reflect as a family.

When COVID-19 lockdown restrictions came into place in March this year, Julie organised counsellors to provide online and telephone support to families in need.

In Baby Loss Awareness Month, Julie has been named winner of the charity and community category in the 2020 National Lottery Awards for her work.

“It is really special to have won the Charity and Community category in the 2020 National Lottery Awards. We set up the Baby Loss Retreat as we wanted to offer something to people who have suffered like us as a family, as they continue to deal with the loss that never leaves them. “When the coronavirus lockdown came into place, we knew grieving parents would feel more isolated than ever. We were hearing stories of women having to go for bad news scans and undergo time in hospital alone. Setting up the online and phone support was really important to ensure that grieving families could still access support.”

Julie Morrison

Winner Julie Morrison and presenter Jean Johansson

Earlier this month, Julie organised a wave of light event at St Augustine’s Chapel in Coatbridge to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week where families could light a candle of remembrance.

“It was an honour to meet Julie and present her with a National Lottery Award for the incredible support she has provided to so many grieving families. I’d like to say thank you to everyone who plays the National Lottery and makes projects like the Baby Loss Retreat possible, their support now is more crucial than ever.”

Jean Johansson

Almost 5,000 extraordinary individuals were nominated for a 2020 National Lottery Award – the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery funded people and projects. They celebrate the inspirational individuals who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.

Earlier this month (October), the Baby Loss Retreat received £9,600 in National Lottery funding to support its work. Previously the project has received £9,360 of National Lottery funding in July 2018 and a further £9,360 in 2019. The project will now also receive a £3,000 cash prize in recognition of Julie’s work.

National Lottery players raise around £30 million to good causes every week. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, The National Lottery has distributed support packages of up to £600 million across arts, sports, heritage, education and the environment.