Families of premature babies are now able to better entertain older siblings during stays at the Royal Stoke hospital thanks to the efforts of pupils from a local school.
Year seven pupils from Blythe Bridge High School and Sixth Form have worked with UHNM Charity to put together and donate a number of ‘sibling packs’ to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.
The packs, containing children’s toys, books and arts and craft materials will be given out to families when they arrive to keep children entertained.
Staff and pupils from the school visited NICU to hand over the packs.
Laura Pheasey from Blythe Bridge High School and Sixth Form said: “After having two baby daughters on the Unit, I saw first-hand the amazing work that the staff do and wanted to give something back. It was whilst I was there that I realised that there’s little for siblings to be entertained with whilst they visit, as their parents, who arrive expectantly, very often don’t have chance to grab anything from home. The children were given £1 each and told to use it to get as much as possible.”
“I’m really proud of the way they’ve embraced the project and got involved and what they’ve achieved. Our school values are ‘Kindness, Respect and Pride’ and they’ve demonstrated these well, and we’ll be working with other groups of students in the future to continue the project.”
In addition to the sibling packs, the school have also put together a number of parent packs containing toiletries and other essential items.
NICU Sister Katy Edwards said: “The whole unit are incredibly grateful to Laura and the pupils at Blythe Bridge High School for providing us with these sibling packs. We’re super proud of the efforts they have gone to and will start distributing them immediately. It will mean a lot to our patient’s families to know that somebody out there, who they’ll probably never meet, is thinking of them.”
The school put the packs together as part of their Community Citizens Project, which teaches young about becoming more responsible members of society.
The unit, which can look after 26 babies and their families at a time, is a nationally-recognised level 3 intensive care unit providing the highest possible level of care for vulnerable new-born babies from the local area and across the West Midlands.
Dr Rao Narasimha, Consultant Neonatologist added: “This will mean a lot to parents, who we want be more involved in the care process. If siblings are happy then the whole family are happy, which is a positive for patient care.”
In addition to donating goods for the packs, pupil Sienna Palmer raised £145 for the unit by holding a raffle for her family and friends.
She said: “I thought of what I wanted to do to help, so held a raffle at home. I sold tickets at school for a week and then spent a week putting the prizes together.”
Parent Sarah O’Sullivan said: “These packs provide something parents and their families don’t have time to think about, during a time their feet won’t hit the ground. They really do go a long way.”