Two of Australia’s leading organisations working to support families after the devastating death of their baby or child to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS and other fatal causes merged their operations from the 30th November.

Red Nose, the respected source for safe sleeping and safer pregnancy advice for parents, and bereavement support for anyone affected by the death of a baby or child, is joining forces with Sands, the voice of bereaved parents for over 40 years, who provide peer-led support for families following the loss of a baby to miscarriage, stillbirth, and newborn death. 

The new organisation will be known as Red Nose, with peer support activities to continue under the Sands banner. Its mission will remain the same – saving little lives through research and education, and supporting anyone impacted by the tragic loss of a baby or child.

Red Nose Chair Craig Heatley said he is delighted to announce this exciting next step in the evolution of Red Nose and Sands, and the opportunities the merger will create for Australian families.

“Since the 1980s, Red Nose has helped save more than 10,000 babies’ lives through our research and education programs. Just as importantly, we have also provided specialised grief and bereavement support to thousands of families whose baby or child died suddenly and unexpectedly. 

“Through this same period, Sands has also supported thousands of families who have experienced pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or the death of their baby soon after birth.

“Sands’ peer support for bereaved parents will perfectly complement Red Nose’s professional bereavement services. Families often require different types of support following the loss of their baby or child – some choose peer support and group activities, others prefer professional counselling, and others a combination of the two. 

“By offering this full range of services, all within one organisation, we can simplify the process of receiving support and have greater positive impact on the lives of bereaved families,” Craig said.

Outgoing Sands board Chair Rachel Green, who joins the Red Nose board today, said she is equally excited about the opportunities created by a larger and stronger organisation. 

“Sands has a long and proud history. Like Red Nose, Sands was founded by bereaved parents who wanted to make sure that all families received the support they needed following the loss of their baby. 

“Merging our operations with Red Nose will enable us to continue providing the highest quality bereavement support services.” 

 “Our merged organisation will have significantly greater capacity to provide our vitally-needed services, as well as continuing our lifesaving research and education programs,” said Craig. 

“Sands’ peer support network and highly-engaged community will strengthen our ability to support bereaved families by offering a choice of support pathways and a caring community of belonging and understanding for bereaved families.

“Importantly, the merger will ensure long-term sustainability for our two great organisations, delivering operational efficiencies that will allow us to help even more Australian families and have even greater impact in our community. 

“Together with Sands, Red Nose is Australia’s leading organisation working both to prevent babies and young children dying suddenly and unexpectedly, and supporting families following the tragic death of their baby or child during pregnancy, infancy and early childhood.

“In the past year alone, more than 3,000 babies died suddenly and unexpectedly in Australia – little lives lost to stillbirth, SIDS and other fatal causes. And in the same period, 1 in 4 pregnancies ended in miscarriage.

“These are shocking numbers – every one of these statistics represents a family and community shattered, the loss of hopes and dreams, and the heartache of never seeing a treasured child grow up and reach their full potential. 

“These tragic statistics are also what drives us every day to further our research and education programs to end preventable deaths from conception through to early childhood. They are the reason this merger is so important. This is a bold goal, but we know that together with our community, we can and will get there,” said Craig. 

After the merger, Red Nose will be led by co-CEOs – Keren Ludski, who has been CEO of Red Nose since 2018, and Jackie Mead the outgoing Sands CEO. Both women are successful executives with extensive backgrounds in business, philanthropy, and not-for-profit management. 

“Keren and Jackie are passionate about saving little lives and ensuring every grieving family receives the support they need. They also bring to their roles their own lived experiences of losing a treasured baby, giving them a deep empathy and insight into the communities with whom Red Nose works, and an understanding of why our work is so important,” said Craig.

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