Tell us a little bit about yourself and what brings you to work with Borne?
I’ve worked in the charity sector for something like 22 years now, helping to create better life chances for some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in our society. Before joining Borne, much of this centred around people with severe mental health problems, people who faced racial and health inequalities, and people who have had nowhere else to turn. They are also the very same people who are amongst the most inspiring I’ve ever met – who, with the right support, are able to overcome the problems they have faced, turning their lives around and reintegrating back into mainstream life.
The mission of Borne is something that I immediately connected with, as well as having the opportunity to work with some remarkable people, and I hope that my experience of working in the charity sector will help us to move to the next level up.
What have you learnt in your first month with Borne?
The biggest thing I have seen since joining Borne just over a month ago is the incredible help and dedication that our charity receives from our extremely passionate and determined supporters. The cause of premature birth is something the world knows very little about – and is something that can dramatically affect the lives of so many people, often without any forewarning. We know it’s preventable though, and we know we need to better understand why it’s something that happens. When we do, we will be able to stop babies from being born too early. And the impact will be genuinely life changing differences in the most extraordinary way.
What do you think is the biggest challenge/opportunity for Borne?
Without doubt the biggest challenge is to ensure that the right research is able to be conducted by the very best scientists and academics there are. This is why Borne has created the research initiatives that we have, the plans we have going forward, and why we are constantly trying to raise as much money as we can to fund this vital work. Researching preterm birth is an underfunded area by the NHS. But the urgency is compelling, and we won’t stop until we have the knowledge and understanding we need to make a difference.
What are you most excited to work on?
To say that I am just a little bit excited about working towards the quite wonderful fundraising events that we hold, would be an understatement. Our supporters are exceptionally generous, and means we can organise the most spectacular events. But the challenge is to broaden our fundraising strategy to engage a much wider public audience. If we can do this, we’ll raise much more awareness, and we will fund much more research. It’s exciting to think what we can achieve together.
Why should people support Borne and our mission to prevent premature birth?
15 million babies are born too soon every year across the world, and 1 million of those will die. 1 in 10 premature babies will have a permanent disability. This is completely unacceptable – not only does it cause unimaginable pain for families and lifelong complications for babies who do survive, it also costs the NHS billions. But research will tell us why this happens, and how we can prevent it from every happening. No baby should be born too soon. We are making progress and with the right support we can eliminate preterm births altogether.
Is there a Borne research project you are particularly interested in/excited about the development of?
I am genuinely excited by all the research that Borne is funding, and the plans we have for the future. This includes our big initiative, known as BUMP (Borne’s Uterine Mappig Project), which seeks to foster collaboration between clinicians and scientific disciplines across institutions, with the ultimate aim of finding the answers to the origins of labour. In addition to this, our aim is to pump-prime promising new research ideas, giving scientists the impetus they need to develop their analysis and advance their breakthrough projects. We need bold and courageous ideas to make a difference and Borne wants to be at the spearhead of that.