Fantastic response to Doncaster 'traffic light hats' appeal for babies on TV's One Show

An appeal on the BBC’s One Show for babies’ ‘traffic-light hats’, by Doncaster clinicians, had a tremendous response.

By Sally Burton
Thursday, 27 June, 2019, 12:58
Filming in Doncaster for the One Show

Health workers from Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals’ Trust featured on TV and as a result, received over 10,000 knitted hats, mittens and bonding hearts.

In March, health professionals took to the Internet to ask for the support of local knitters after introducing ‘Traffic Light Hats’ on the Trust’s Labour Suites and Neonatal Units.

Worn by new-born tots, these knitted garments in green, orange and red are super important, signalling what level of care is required for each infant at a glance.

The 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.

Just one day after the initial appeal was launched, more than 400,000 had seen the posts on Facebook, then the first hand-stitched garments started to arrive, with packages delivered from as far-afield as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, alongside countless local well-wishers.

In just a few weeks, the now-closed appeal reached over 1,000,000 people on the social network.

Intrigued producers from the BBC’s flagship weekly magazine show got in touch to find out more. Filming over the course of two days, the final piece was shown recently, featuring Elaine Merrills, Matron for Midwifery, and Michelle Clarke, Senior Sister on the Neonatal Unit.

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Cindy Storer, Acting Deputy Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals, said: “We have been 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.”

Launched with the aid of the presenters from The One Show, the Trust is now asking local knitters and crocheters to take up their needles and hooks in aid of a new appeal for ‘Twiddlemuffs’.

These garments provide sensory stimulation for older patients, often living with or experiencing dementia or delirium, whilst also keeping their hands warm and snug.

The twiddlemuffs have also been shown to have benefits for patients with learning disabilities and those who are receiving chemotherapy.

The pattern and delivery instructions can be found on the Trust’s website at https://www.dbth.nhs.uk/news/knitters-needed-twiddlemuffs-appeal-at-dbth/

The One Show episode which features DBTH’s Traffic Light Hat campaign can be viewed on iPlayer until mid-July.