Croydon Health Services has been awarded over £300,000 towards the refurbishment and upgrade of the maternity unit at Croydon University Hospital.

Last November, the Trust, supported by the Maternity Services Liaison Committee and commissioners, bid for a share of a £25 million fund opened by the Government.

The application was judged by a panel including representatives from the Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Obstetricians and gynaecologists.

Yesterday the Department of Health announced the trust was successful in its bid for £309,000, which focused on providing a more comfortable and welcoming environment for women and their partners, with greater privacy and improved facilities.

The funding is in addition to £100,000 the trust is already investing in the department.

Work will including improving Reception and Triage facilities, an additional birthing pool, more equipment for use in labour such as reclining chairs and developing a "first stage of labour" room where mothers in the early stages can stay mobile and supported.

Ann Morling, director of midwifery said: "Supporting new parents, both before and after birth, is crucial to help children get the best start in life.

"The Trust is already funding the refurbishment of the maternity wards as part of a £100,000 scheme but this additional money will mean we can go further and faster to improve the quality of care we provide for the families who chose our unit."

The project is expected to be completed in May.