In light of the birth of our Royal Princess last week we wanted to share a great group with you, who help newborn premature babies.

We recently funded Neonatal Knitters, based in Tameside.

Neonatal Knitters knit and crochet items for the neonatal units of St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester. The group provides the materials to their members who knit at home and at their knitting group. The group brings together all ages of the community from 10 – 90 years old for the benefit of the premature babies.

As well as the knitting side of things, Neonatal Knitters promote work across different generations and encourage elderly and often isolated people to engage with others.

Often when babies are premature parents can struggle to find clothes to fit them as what is offered on the High Street can be too big, which can highlight the angst and fear parents have with the size of the newborn. Clothes on sale for a newborn baby tend to be too big for a premature baby, causing them to sometimes make the baby look even smaller, and also getting in the way of medical equipment such as tracheostomies.

Babies like the one photographed, taken by the group fit snug and comfortably in the clothes.

Neonatal Knitters said: “The neonatal babies in St Marys’ Hospital Manchester need the items knitted and crocheted by our members in order to keep warmth in their bodies. Parents are comforted by their baby wearing the items we provide. In the sad event of the baby not surviving, the parents are given the items worn by their child alone as a keepsake, which gives the parents some slight comfort. Residents in our community who produce these items are of varying ages and often in the case of the elderly are lonely and isolated, by attending our knitting group their wellbeing is improved. Also it is often the only time young and old come together which promotes generation understanding and acceptance.”

Neonatal Knitters also told us a great story about an attendee of the group: “A young woman in her early 20’s came to the group as one of our youngest members. She suffers from severe depression, anxiety and extremely low self esteem amongst other issues. She came with a family member for support and settled into the group very quickly as we were quite low in numbers at the beginning.

“She taught herself to crochet prior to joining us and made beanies and blankets for the group. As people saw her working away they asked her to either teach them or help them when they were in difficulties, this improved her confidence and self esteem greatly. She also made friends with the older members and they shared skills and knowledge. As an artistic person she helped create the publicity materials and took charge of our notice board, making sure it is always bright, informative and current.

“She says Neonatal Knitters and learning a new craft has helped her, and this is the first time she has mixed with other people in a long time. She hopes to be able to return to the weekly sessions at some point.”

Groups like Neonatal Knitters can create happiness in the darkest of times for families of premature babies. Through volunteering and utilising their skills, the people involved in this group are helping to keep a poorly baby warm and comfortable, as well as helping the family to cope. Neonatal Knitters is done on a completely voluntary basis, which is why funding from us, for things like rental of space, wool and needles is so important.

DONATE TODAY and help us to fund similar groups to Neonatal Knitters who make a massive difference in their communities.