Taunton mayor and council chair announce SNICU as charity of the year - 03 September 2019

Taunton mayor and council chair announce SNICU as charity of the year - 03 September 2019

190819 mayor SNICU

The mayor of Taunton has announced the Somerset Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (SNICU) as the official charity for her year as mayor.

Councillor Fran Smith will be fundraising for the SNICU at Musgrove Park alongside Chair of Somerset West and Taunton Council, Councillor Hazel Prior-Sankey throughout the year.

They made the announcement during a visit to the unit, which cares for more than 400 premature and poorly babies a year.

It was a return to the unit for Cllr Smith, whose daughter Federica Smith-Roberts – the leader of Somerset West and Taunton Council – spent time in the SNICU when she was born nine weeks premature 34 years ago.

Cllr Smith, who was also a Musgrove baby, said: “I haven’t been back for 34 years since my daughter Federica was here. It has brought back memories.

“I think it is important for the mayor to raise the profile of things happening in Taunton and Musgrove Park is totally pivotal to the area, whether it is family members visiting or being born here.

“Coming together with Hazel as chair we are hoping to make a difference.”

The pair were shown around the 18-cot unit and the facilities available for families when their babies are cared for on the unit. 

They saw a state-of-the-art Giraffe incubator, which they hope to raise a significant amount of money towards over the year.

Cllr Prior-Sankey said: “I’m a Taunton girl and know how important SNICU is for Taunton and Somerset people.

“It is important that we give our children the best start in life and is great that we are able to work together to support the unit.”

Neonatal unit manager, Sue Fulker, said: “It is great that Cllr Smith and Cllr Prior-Sankey have chosen SNICU as their charity for the year and we are very grateful for their support.

“Charitable donations enable us to go a step further in terms of the equipment we can buy. If we have another one of these Giraffe incubators the top rises up and surgical procedures can be carried out on the neonatal unit. They have specialist lights and specialist heating which makes these procedures more successful and makes it a lot easier for the doctors.

“We have got two at the moment but would benefit from more. These incubators make such a big difference to everybody, doctors, nurses and parents.”

Love Musgrove Head of Fundraising, Zoe Steer, added: “We are very grateful to councillors Smith and Prior-Sankey for pledging their support to Love Musgrove and the SNICU and look forward to seeing their progress over the year.”