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Neonatal knits bring festive cheer

Neonatal knits bring festive cheer Banner Image

l-r Becky Esslemont, Mel Gwilt, Jo Smith, Lee Macneall, Enid Bosworth, Olive Appleby and Pat Morris

UCLan’s community engagement project delivers more than 200 knitted items to four county hospitals

Festive cheer is being brought to neonatal units throughout the county thanks to a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) community project.

Volunteer knitters, who meet once a week in UCLan’s city centre shop, have created hats, booties, mittens, cardigans and blankets for premature babies at four hospitals around Lancashire.

The group, which started knitting the small baby items last month, has produced more than 200 items with wool which has been donated by members of the public. The babywear is being distributed to hospitals in Preston, Lancaster, Blackburn and Burnley.

Three of the knitters hand delivered their creations to the Royal Preston Hospital this week. Enid Bosworth, from Ribbleton, said: “We are really pleased that the Matron and her team appreciate all that we’ve done. We all feel very special and privileged to have been able to personally deliver the baby items and meet the nursing team.”

Jo Smith, Matron of the Neonatal Unit at Royal Preston, was delighted to receive the donations. She said: “It’s really generous and very much appreciated. It’s a lot of hard work and it’s very heart-warming that the volunteers have given up their own time to help. Some of the families can’t get out to buy clothes for their very sick and premature babies so to be able to pick up some donated knitted items is lovely.” 

Knitting for premature babies is a great project to have been involved in and it’s one the volunteers have loved so much that they have decided to continue their knitting ventures way into the New Year.”

Lee Macneall, UCLan’s Engagement and Outreach Officer, runs the InTheCity shop, which is based in St George’s Shopping Centre. He said: “Knitting for premature babies struck a chord with some of the ladies as some of their close family members have utilised the services provided from neonatal wards. It’s a great project to have been involved in and it’s one the volunteers have loved so much that they have decided to continue their knitting ventures way into the New Year.”

The knitting scheme has been running every Monday from 1.00pm to 3.00pm for nine months. Since its inception the volunteers created three life-size bodies that have been used for educational purposes. Engagement staff at the University have taken the bodies around primary schools to give children an insight to the human body in a sensory way.

Lee added: “The group is extremely passionate in what they do and take pride in creating these mini creations. I think it’s very inspirational for the group to want to continue their knitting journey. Not only do they knit for charity, but also are willing to teach people how to knit. I love coming into work at the start of the week knowing I’ll be running the knitting club, attending this session would make anyone smile.”


Jo Smith and UCLan’s Lee Macneall admire the handiwork

Rachel Atkinson | 20 December 2016