As part of Jessops Superheroes this June, we’re celebrating the superheroes that care for and save the lives of thousands of babies at the Jessop Wing every year.

Just one of the roles that your support helps to fund at the Jessop Wing is the Family Support Assistant, who supports families of babies being cared for at the Neonatal Unit.

The charity funded role is performed by Holly Fearn, 24, as an extension of her role as a Ward Clerk for the Neonatal Unit.

"In my role as a Neonatal Ward Clerk, a lot of the focus is on families and supporting them during their journey on the Neonatal Unit. I wanted to become more involved with families, so when the role of Family Support Assistant became available, I immediately knew this was something I wanted to do as an extension of my current role."

Holly works closely with the charity-funded Family Support Sister, Lisa Lincoln, who will also feature as another one of our ‘Jessops Superheroes’ this June.

I enjoy working closely with families, nothing is too much trouble. Parents are often upset, stressed and full of worry when they visit their baby.

"I make a conscious effort to be a friendly face they can approach for anything; whether this is arranging tea for parents that evening, or just making them a cuppa and having a chat.

"I work alongside the Family Support Sister and Special Care Baby Unit Coordinator to help organise fundraising events, including World Prematurity Day. This is a huge success every year, raising vital funds to support the Neonatal Unit."

Holly’s role is funded by donations made to Sheffield Hospitals Charity, as part of its work to support and improve the hospital experience across all of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

Without donations, I wouldn’t be able to provide this extra level of support to families on the Neonatal Unit.

"The Unit relies heavily on fundraising and donations to support our improvements and changes. Donations have funded parent accommodation and flats that allow families reside in the hospital, giving parents the opportunity to remain close to their baby if they do not live in Sheffield or if their baby is extremely sick.

"We have also recently celebrated our 2nd ‘vCreate’ birthday.  vCreate is an NHS trusted, secure messaging service that is controlled by the unit, and this is funded through donations made to Sheffield Hospitals Charity. It allows us to send video and photo updates to parents, which gives them reassurance during a stressful time because they can actually see their baby."

At the Jessop Wing, no two days are the same and staff like Holly have to be there for parents at some of the most stressful and difficult times of their lives.

My role varies depending on the needs of families on that day. A usual day starts with checking in with families on the unit, making sure they are ok and if there is anything they need.

"I then meet the Family Support Sister to help with any admin tasks, such as writing letters to parents, and creating information leaflets for support groups such as SHED (Support and Help for Every Dad).

"Recently, we have been celebrating mum’s and dad’s birthdays with cards and presents, so part of my role is check if there are any upcoming birthdays and to wrap presents and write a card from baby to their mummy or daddy.

"I thoroughly enjoy being involved with families and helping them in any way I can. I work on the unit all week, so I’m a familiar face to parents and the interaction is invaluable. Parents can be very upset and stressed and need a lot of support, so it’s important that staff at the Jessop Wing are a source of strength for them."

Want to get involved with Jessops Superheroes 2021 and make a difference to babies and their families? Click here to find out more.