University Hospitals of Derby and Burton

University Hospitals of Derby and Burton thank much-loved charity founder for 15 years’ support for local families


So much of what we do at me&dee makes us very proud and humble all at the same time.

We are so delighted to have been recognised by the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton for offering 15 years of support to families who have spent time on their wards.

We honestly can’t count the many, many trips Maria and our team have taken to these two hospitals serving thousands of families across the East Midlands.

From our comfort packs containing sachets of hot drinks for mums and dads, plus cuddly toys and distraction activities for children, let’s just say we are no strangers to the car parks at these two amazing hospitals serving so many people across the East Midlands!

So many children at these hospitals have received our special ‘Hope’ the elephant cuddly keepsakes too. As those who have ‘Hope’ will know, she has a voice recorder in one ear for recording messages to loved ones, and notes in the other ear for writing loving and comforting thoughts down.

Hope has been used in so many ways, such as by sisters – one of whom is having treatment – to keep in touch. She also provides comfort to so many after a loved one has left us.

We know how important our work with hospitals is. Maria knows better than anyone how lost you can feel in a hospital ward when you’ve been rushed there, and you haven’t got anything with you – not even a tea bag to make a cuppa, nor a toothbrush to clean your teeth at night.

That’s why we have come up with our comfort packs idea, to help families who come to hospital with a few bits and pieces designed to while away the hours with a book to entertain stressed out children, and a cuddly toy to give them something to hug.

But our work with hospitals goes much further than that. We’re also working with children’s and bereavement teams to help give loving support to families who are going through the worst agony  – baby loss. We’ll be funding precious items such as hand and feet casts as memory-makers for families. It’s hard to describe how important this work is: all we can really say is we’re very proud to do it.

As we say, we’re beyond proud to be recognised by Jill Matthews, Chief Officer of Derby & Burton Hospitals Charity, who says: “Over many years the young people and their families treated in our Children’s Hospital have benefitted from a range of support including days out, cuddly toys and comfort packs to make their stay in hospital as comfortable as possible.

“We are delighted with the support me&dee provides and are grateful of their ongoing support to continue to support our children’s teams and bereavement teams across the Trust.”

Kirsty Bowles, a play specialist at Queen’s Hospital Burton who has worked with me&dee for many years, said: “It is a joy to work with me&dee and we truly appreciate the support they offer.  It’s a unique charity. Their support is tailor-made to the family. If there are children and they need a day out, me&dee will make that happen for the family so they can enjoy that day. There is so much that me&dee does for us, it’s hard to put into words. me&dee are always there for us and sometimes we can be looking for something quite unique for a patient on the ward. They always try their best to help, often coming up with an idea that works better than what we originally asked for. Knowing they are a phone call away is wonderful.”

One thing is for sure, we will continue to be working with these hospitals to provide the support through some of life’s toughest times.