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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Milk bank gains vital funding

This news post is almost 6 years old

The money will be used to support more than 700 vulnerable babies across the country

A vital service for premature and ill babies has received a funding boost.

The Scottish Donor Milk Bank has been granted £300,000 from the Scottish Government.

The funding will benefit more than 700 of the most vulnerable babies a year, allowing them to be fed breastmilk for a longer period of time to reduce their health risks associated with being sick and premature.

It will also help babies whose mothers have early feeding challenges, as they will now be able to get access to the donor breastmilk.

Public health minister Aileen Campbell announced the three-year funding package during Scottish Breastfeeding Awareness Week, as the Glasgow-based service, which provides donor human milk to babies all across Scotland, celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Heather Lawrence, who has been donating to the milk bank for six months, said: “Being a milk donor makes me feel good, every morning when I am expressing I know that milk will help more than one baby – that’s a great feeling. I’m not doing it for me.

“I feel it’s really worthwhile and I tell my baby, Eleanor, where the milk is going and the good it’s doing. Breastfeeding was challenging initially but nine months later it’s so easy and Eleanor has thrived on it. It’s a great comfort as well and really helps settle her anytime, anywhere.”

Campbell said: “This funding will benefit so many sick and premature babies, allowing them to not only get better, but to thrive, and it’s wonderful to meet some of the staff who work hard to support new mothers and the women who have selflessly donated their milk and their time to help these children.”

The service collects, screens, stores, processes and distributes donor breast milk. It first opened at the Queen Mother’s Hospital in Glasgow in 1978, and is hosted by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Last year, more than 1,000 litres of milk was distributed across Scotland.

Kevin Hill of the NHS said: “This funding will ensure that safe screened donor human milk will be available to support the most vulnerable infants across Scotland. The service has seen increasing demand for donor human milk since it became a Scotland-wide service in June 2013 and this further funding will support the ongoing and increasing demand. More babies will be able to access donor milk and for longer, ensuring they have the best possible start.”