Big thank you from

Jenny Munro talks to Samara Briggs

Samara BriggsSAMARA Briggs, 23, is a community events officer with TinyLife - Northern Ireland's premature and vulnerable baby charity, dedicated to reducing premature birth, illness, disability and death in babies born here.

Lisburn girl Samara has a fiancé Paul. Before joining the charity she studied media at the University of Ulster and worked in television production.

Formerly known as NIMBA (Northern Ireland Mother and Baby Action), TinyLife - based in Carryduff - is committed to funding medical research into the causes of premature birth, stillbirth and miscarriage and providing information to professionals and parents-to-be to ensure that every pregnancy has the best chance of a healthy outcome and a healthy baby. TinyLife also offers practical and emotional support to ensure that parents of premature and ill babies get all the help they need.

I normally wake up at 7.30am, have breakfast and get ready to drive to the office - this doesn't take me very long. My job is to generate ideas and manage events to raise money for the charity I am based in Carryduff but my work takes me across the province as we support people all over Northern Ireland. My main objective is to raise the profile of TinyLife through public relations and marketing campaigns. I never stop thinking about ways to promote the charity

The first thing I do each morning is make a check list of what needs to be done that day I look at my emails and see if there is anything that needs my attention urgently. No two days are ever the same. To publicise events I write press releases and organise photo calls and I spend a lot of time liaising with media outlets and making arrangements to go out and meet up with people who might be able to help promote any events we are working on. TinyLife does not receive government funding so we do rely solely on the generosity of the public.

Another part of my role is to go out to local organisations like schools to let the pupils know more about TinyLife and I also visit hospitals that care for sick babies. It's good to see where the money we raise goes and how the support we offer really does help people.

Getting funding from businesses is an essential part of my job. I organise meetings with firms and make a plea for charity status within their organisation and l might try and get them to sponsor an upcoming event. Generally the response is very positive and when firms find out what we are about they are more than willing to help us.

The team at TinyLife is great at communicating as we are working towards the same goal and we are always open to ideas from the general public and getting volunteers on board. I also approach local celebrities to become patrons - this helps attract human interest, touching people who have been affected and it

helps maximise awareness of the charity. If I'm not out at a fundraising event I normally get away from the office at 5pm although if I haven't finished something I will stay on until everything is complete - there are not enough hours in the day

My job can be extremely stressful but I never tire of what I do - it is very rewarding and when I wake up in the morning I can't wait to go into work.

In Northern Ireland over 1500 babies are born too soon, 900 babies spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit each year. 80% of babies who are born alive but die in the first 28 days of life are born prematurely. On average there are two stillbirths every week. TinyLife is committed to funding medical research into the causes of premature birth, stillbirth and miscarriage, provide information to health professionals and ensure families of premature babies receive the emotional and practical support they need.

Ulster Star