Project information

The Babygrow Appeal to build a new neonatal unit

To create a newly developed neonatal unit for the Countess of Chester Hospital for the benefit of premature, vulnerable and sick babies and their families. And to allow the staff that care for the babies to deliver the best service possible to help give these special babies the best start in life.

April 2017 - July 2018

Charity information: The Countess Of Chester Hospital Nhs Charitable Funds

The Countess Of Chester Hospital Nhs Charitable Funds logo
  • Need


    The existing neonatal unit was built in 1974 and is now out dated in terms of décor and design and the service has grown out of it in terms of space. Medical advancements mean there is much more life-saving equipment in this very small space. The unit was built with babies and not families in mind. Parents looked through windows and watched their babies being cared for. We now know medically that it is critical for the development of babies to spend as much time as possible with their families.


    Our appeal will provide nurseries prepared in an environment that reflects home with space around cots for parents to sit and support their babies; enabling early bonding and improved family relations. The new unit will also provide a Sibling Room where siblings can play freely, watch TV or do their homework and a Counseling Room for when bad news has to be given. It will also provide an integrated working environment with increased workspace and storage, natural light and air conditioning.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Create a newly developed neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital.


    » Start the project process at £2M and complete project in 90 weeks as scheduled.

    What success will look like

    Success will be meeting our appeal target and realising the creation of a new unit.

    Aim 2

    To establish early bonding between parent and child and kangaroo care / skin to skin contact.


    » To create nurseries with adequate space around the cots to accommodate parents to care for their baby.

    What success will look like

    Caring for approximately 500 babies and 1200 family members each year on the unit and providing them with the facilities they need.

    Aim 3

    To create a private space for when for when bad news has to be delivered to parents.


    » Creation of a dedicated Counseling Room.

    What success will look like

    Privacy for staff and patients when bad news has to be given.

    Aim 4

    Promote good family relations and reduce the stress.


    » Creation of a Sibling Room for siblings to use when their parents need to be in the nursery.

    What success will look like

    Improved family dynamics and more settled siblings that have a place to be occupied or just relax when in the hospital.

    Aim 5

    An improved service and working environment for staff.


    » Creation of an integrated working environment with increased workspace, storage & natural light.

    What success will look like

    An efficient work space allowing staff more time to care and less time moving equipment around to create space in a now very cramped unit.

  • Impact


    It will allow us to address the national survey results carried out by Picker Institute that assessed parent experiences of neonatal care in our hospital, and will enable us to make transition for baby and family as smooth as possible in-line with the Cheshire and Merseyside Neonatal NW Regional Network.
    We will demonstrate the success of this project by monitoring its aims; refurbishing and extending the unit to create almost double the space allowing for much needed new facilities.


    Not achieving the overall income target.
    We have a robust plan in place to achieve this and monthly monitoring takes place against the plan.
    Building works could overspend.
    The project will be managed by an experienced project manager and again spend managed monthly against plan.
    Families have to wait longer for the space we feel they deserve. We will start the project process as soon as we reach £2million of the £2.6 M target.


    We will report to funders through mechanisms ranging from grant monitoring and reporting forms to Facebook, individual letters and the media. This will be driven by the type of donor and the level of donation.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £2,598,028

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,379,640 Building Works 690sq m upgrade
      £215,942 VAT inc VAT recovery
      £202,446 Fees Professional Fees
      £588,000 Fundraising Fundraising Staff Costs
      £212,000 Fundraising Fundraising Event Costs

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Trust & Grants £524,600 Guaranteed
    Corporate Donations £115,368 Guaranteed
    Community & Sponsored Events £714,340 Guaranteed
    General, In Memory Donations & Legacies £437,570 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The hospital serves a population of more than 500,000 patients per year from Chester, Western Cheshire, Ellesmere Port and North Wales. Approx. 3000 babies are born at the hospital per year of which 500 are admitted to the neonatal unit. The Neonatal unit is the busiest level 2 unit in the Cheshire & Merseyside NW Regional Neonatal Network to which it belongs. The Women & Children’s Building in which it is located is 40 years old and was the first building on the Countess of Chester Health Park


    Having a new neonatal unit will improve the conditions each year for approximately 500 very poorly patients; in addition to approx. 1200 extended family members - particularly siblings who often lose out at this critical time when so much of their parents’ focus needs to be on baby. It will also allow the daily staff of 16 an environment with increased workspace and storage, natural light and air conditioning to enable them to provide the best and most up to date service possible.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Our charity was founded to generate charitable income for general purpose and specific projects like the Babygrow Appeal to enhance and improve the patient experience at our hospital; with a mission to focus on areas not covered or fully supported by central NHS funds. We have an excellent track record of fundraising for capital appeals with successful outcomes including Breast Care Unit (£1.2M; 2002), Relative Comfort (£300,000; 2013), B-Positive (£600,000; 2006).

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Ravi Jayaram

    A Consultant Paediatrician at the hospital. He presented ‘Born Naughty’ and appeared on ‘This Morning’ as an expert in his field.

    Leila Bibby

    Chair of the Babygrow Committee & has 15 years of PR and Marketing experience. Leila had twins in our Neonatal Unit so has a strong connection.

    Ed Oliver

    A non-executive director of the hospital and also current Chairman of Chester BID. He is the Chair of the Charitable Fund Committee for the hospital.

    Kevin Eccles

    Head of Development Programme at Countess of Chester Hospital with many years of experience leading successful capital building projects.