vCreate allows parents, friends and family to see photos and videos of their premature baby whilst in hospital, to minimise separation anxiety.
The Emily Harris Foundation, which serves King’s Mill Hospital Neonatal Unit, in Mansfield, will be the first charity to benefit from the technology. Started by Neil and Clare Harris in 2008 in memory of their daughter Emily Harris, who died in 2007 at just 5 months old having spent much of her life in the Unit, the Foundation funds training for staff members, as well financial relief and practical support for families with babies receiving care, including access to the vCreate app.
Funded by each individual neonatal unit and its associated charities, use of the vCreate service has rapidly expanded due to lockdown visiting restrictions – growing from use in 65 hospitals pre-Covid to now connecting families and babies across 170 UK hospitals.
Whilst fundraising for the neonatal charities sponsoring vCreate would previously be conducted through JustGiving or PayPal, the PM Connect partnership will allow friends and relatives to donate to via their phone bill.
Direct carrier billing (DCB) streamlines the donation process, bypassing the need to input card details or for lengthy sign-up procedures, and can also be used outside of the app with a shareable link.
Clare Harris, Foundation Manager at the Emily Harris Foundation, says: “Myself and my husband, Neil, started the Foundation in 2008 in memory of our beloved daughter Emily Harris. We were blessed to spend the short time with her that we did, and wanted to keep her memory alive and repay the wonderful care we received, providing support for the King’s Mill Hospital Neonatal Unit staff, patients and their families.”
She continues: “This includes sponsoring the vCreate app, which has been widely used since we introduced it last year – with families regularly telling us how much it has helped them to receive video updates from their babies when they are unable to see them.”
She concludes: “Sponsoring the app is therefore incredibly important, so we can continue to help keep up these connections. By making it easier for friends and family members to donate to us at the same time as viewing updates, the PM Connect and vCreate partnership will make lives easier for those donating, and in turn raise key funds to ensure we can continue supporting the Unit as much as possible.”
Ben Moore, Founder of vCreate, adds: “Small independent charities like the Emily Harris Foundation work incredibly hard to provide support for services like vCreate. Making donating as simple as possible on the vCreate application will really help and there is no doubt that direct carrier billing really does eliminate hassle for relatives wanting to make a charitable contribution. The payment technology sits neatly in the platform, allowing users to make their donations in a streamlined, seamless way. Following initial roll-out, the plan is to introduce the technology to more of our charity partners and neonatal units across the country, with hospitals and charities also able to make use of the link via their own social media and website as well as on the vCreate site.”
James Brighton, Partnerships Director at PM Connect, adds: “We’re proud to have been chosen by vCreate and the Emily Harris Foundation to provide mobile payment technology. With relatives predominately using mobile to access vCreate’s secure messages, images and videos, our incorporated payment platform – allowing users to donate without taking them away from the app environment – was a perfect fit.”
Brighton says: “The app uses pre-developed technology, which can “plug-in” to multiple environments, maximising choice. From sharing on social to incorporating into newsletters and emails, we hope to provide an easy way for users to make donations at a stressful time, maximising charity support.”