TWO of the region’s children’s charities have joined forces to bring wider support to families.

Zoe’s Place and Leo’s Neonatal, both based on Teesside, have combined specialist services in a bid to provide more in-depth support to parents and children in the region.

Over the last six months, the two charities have created new services such as soft play sessions, funded by G2 Events, Stay and Play groups, and extra bereavement support for families in and around Teesside.

The partnership also saw two staff nurses at Zoe’s Place join the team at Leo’s as peer support volunteers.

Now, the partner charities are steaming ahead with new plans such as study days, memorial services and more support services to benefit families.

Zoe’s Place offers palliative, respite and end of life care to babies and infants up to five years, and supports families anywhere in the UK from its hospice in Normanby.

Leo’s, launched in 2018, supports families during preterm and traumatic labour on four neonatal units in the North-East and provides services such as heartbeat bears, bereavement support, peer support volunteers, welcome boxes and playgroups.

Leaders of Zoe’s Place and Leo’s said the partnership allows them to broaden their reach of those families they can support and plan to continue to develop their services for families.

Mark Guidery, general manager of Zoe’s Place, said: “By working together we can only do more and better for the families who find themselves needing the services of Zoe’s Place or Leo’s.

“The teams have worked brilliantly together across the last six months, and we’ve managed to care for many new families.”

Lottie King, founder of Leo’s, added: “We know many families who need neonatal care will need additional care in the community.

"By working with Zoe’s Place we can get them the right respite support, or in devastating circumstances, end of life support.

"We are all very passionate and driven to make a difference to the families of the region with this partnership.”