Petals - The Baby Loss Counselling Charity


Call Petals Charity 0300 688 0068   


Petals is the Baby Loss Counselling Charity. We provide free-of-charge specialist counselling to support the mental health of women, men and couples who experience the devastation of pregnancy or baby loss.  Our trained counsellors provide a safe space to guide our clients through the grief and trauma of their devastating experiences to a place of reconciliation and hope for the future.
Petals’ counselling programme is unique and has been specifically designed and developed to meet the needs of bereaved parents.  Our counsellors are experts in this field and between them have many years of experience in counselling people after all types of baby loss including miscarriage, stillbirth, TFMR, neonatal death and pregnancy after loss.
Petals currently work in partnership with NHS hospitals and trusts to deliver our vital service.  However, the nature of these partnerships means that there are restrictions on what type of loss can be supported.  It is Petals’ vision that all parents across the UK can access our specialist counselling support when they need it, no matter where they live or what type of loss they have experienced.   We rely on the generosity of our supporters to enable us to expand our vital service beyond our NHS partnerships. 
Petals was founded in 2011 by Karen Burgess, our Chief Executive.  Originally working as a counsellor within the NHS in Cambridge, Karen witnessed first-hand how critical her specialist counselling work was for bereaved parents. So, when the funding for her role was cut, she was determined to keep it going.  Since achieving charity status in 2013, our service has grown to the size it is today seeing us deliver over 5,240 sessions in 2022.  It is very much our aspiration to expand our vital service nationwide.
Find out more at or follow us across social media @petalscharity


Petals, the baby loss counselling charity, joined the Hot Stories networking event to talk about the charity’s important work and share details of its forthcoming fundraising campaigns.
Founded in 2011 by Karen Burgess, who still serves as the charity’s chief executive, Petals provides counselling to families that have experienced the grief of losing a baby during their pregnancy or shortly afterwards. Karen was moved to start the charity after discovering that there was no NHS funding to help people through what can be a traumatic, but tragically common, event.
Despite the high quality of maternity care available in the UK, it’s estimated that as many as one-in-four pregnancies will have an unexpected outcome. One in every hundred women will experience recurrent miscarriages. And one in 260 births are stillborn. Unfortunately, the NHS simply does not have the resources to help parents deal with the emotional impact of those losses. Instead, people have to use already pressured non-specialist services, or simply deal with their loss on their own.
Petals is trying to fill that gap. But it’s a big gap to fill.

The charity has partnerships with twelve NHS trusts, so parents at those trusts can be referred, and Petals funded, for counselling. While it’s welcome, it provides 55% of Petals’ income and helps support the charity’s operations, it means families face a postcode lottery when it comes to support.

A family experiencing loss in southeast London or Nottingham, for example, can get a referral to Petals from their NHS trust. But in Cambridge, the charity’s home, a grieving parent will be reliant on services funded by donations.

Since it was founded in 2011, the charity has achieved a lot. It has helped 7,000 people through their loss, and it is currently offering 500 counselling sessions a month, employing 26 fully qualified and registered counsellors. But, sadly, it is still not enough.
In the last year, 900 people approached the charity for help because they did not live in the right place to get NHS help. Unfortunately, Petals could only afford to help 162 of them, a heart-breaking position for both the charity and those families.

To help raise money to help more people, Petals is launching two new fundraising campaigns.
The first is Pay-It-Forward. Counselling is expensive because it involves not just the time of the session, but all the clinical training and support that wraps around it; the counsellor a family will meet is just the tip of the iceberg. £80 will pay for a counselling session, so Pay-It-Forward means there’s a clear benefit, when you give £80, you know it will directly help a family.

And the second is a launch event. Petals will be hosting a virtual walk — from Land’s End to John O’Groats — which will take in each of the twelve NHS trusts Petals works with. The walk is virtual, and the route has been kindly donated by the Miles app. The app will integrate with any activity tracker you use, whether it’s just your phone, or specific trackers like Garmin devices or Strava, and means that every step you take will contribute to Petals’ progress.

The purpose of the walk is not just to raise money, but also awareness. Petals hopes that it makes people think about all those that are left behind because they simply cannot afford to help them. You will almost certainly know people who have suffered that loss but have never shared it; despite it being one of the darkest times in their lives, many people go through it alone.
Counselling makes a huge difference and can be a lifeline for parents, and that’s why Petals are launching their campaigns. Whether it’s by a donation, downloading the app, or just starting a conversation that raises awareness of miscarriage and baby loss, you can help Petals to help everyone who needs it.