Doncaster hospital receives 10,000 knitted donations after social media appeal

Midwives and neonatal nurses at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) have received over 10,000 knitted hats, mittens and bonding hearts, following a successful social media appeal.

Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 10:23 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 10:23 am

The health professionals took to social media in March after introducing ‘Traffic Light Hats’ on to the Trust’s Labour Suites and Neonatal Units. Worn by new-born tots, these knitted garments in green, orange and red are incredibly important, with each signalling what level of care is required for each infant at a glance.

These hats are used within the first 24 hours of the baby’s life and are then taken home with them as a keepsake. With over 5,000 babies delivered at DBTH each year, this means that a lot of hats are required annually.

Caron Watts, Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and Michelle Clark, Senior Sister, with the donations

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Just one day after the initial appeal was launched for the head-wear, more than 400,000 had seen the posts on Facebook, and not long after the first hand-stitched garments started to arrive, with packages delivered from countries as far-afield as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, alongside countless local well-wishers. In just a few weeks, the appeal reached over 1,000,000 people on the social network.

With public support and enthusiasm shown on social media, the hospital teams expanded the appeal to include ‘Cannula Mittens’ as well as ‘Bonding Hearts’. As useful as their comfy counter-part, the mittens are used to ensure that infants do not disturb their cannulas or pull them out, while bonding hearts help tots to familiarise themselves with their mother’s smell, and vice-versa, when they are apart during hospital care.

Cindy Storer, Acting Deputy Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals, said: “We are truly stunned by the number of knitted garments we have received throughout the past number of weeks. The generosity of people across the country and, in some cases, internationally has been heart-warming. We can’t thank those who have donated enough.

“We must now ask our knitters to put down their needles and wool for the time-being as we have all the hats, mittens and bonding hearts that we need.”

With over 10,000 knitted items received, Trust staff are now hard-at-work sorting out the assorted packages that have been received, as well as finding suitable storage to ensure they remain fresh and ready-to-use in the coming months.

Richard Parker OBE, Chief Executive at the Trust said: “I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to contribute to this appeal. We are all aware of the power of social media and to see it put to such positive use is very touching. Our babies are now suitably snug, and getting the benefit of our supporters hard work and generosity.”

The Trust will soon be launching another knitting appeal, this time focused upon ‘Twiddle-Muffs’ which are used to calm, comfort and distract patients living with dementia. Details regarding the campaign will be available on www.dbth.nhs.uk in the coming weeks.