15:21, Wednesday, 6th February 2019

A book scheme has seen more than 150 gift packs handed to families with newborns in a bid to encourage them to read and sing to their babies.

The joint initiative called making big memories with little babies sees books given to parents whose baby is admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Scunthorpe hospital.

Babies admitted to NICU receive a gift pack containing a book and a singalong nursery rhyme CD. It aims to encourage parents to read and sing to their babies while they are on the ward as this plays a vital part in a child’s early development.

The scheme is a joint initiative between Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust’s official charity, The Health Tree Foundation (HTF), North Lincolnshire Council and the North Lincolnshire Children’s Literacy Trust.

Sara Judd, ward sister on NICU, said: “It can be quite stressful for parents when their baby is on the unit. Encouraging them to talk to them can help develop a closeness and bond. When reading from a book parents are able to feel more in control of their situation and surroundings and it helps to promote confidence in future reading.”

Feedback about the scheme shows that 86 per cent of people who received the pack thought that it was an excellent idea, with 72 per cent saying it helped them have special one-to-one time with their baby.

Vice-Chair of the North Lincolnshire Children’s Literacy Trust, Sandra Simmons, said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to HTF and everyone who has helped make the first year a success. A special thanks to the hospital’s League of Friends who kindly donated £3,000 to help secure the funding for the first trial period.”

HTF community champion, Hayley Thompson, said: “It is great to see the results from the first year’s gifting and knowing it is making a difference to families is wonderful. We are looking forward to continuing the scheme with the council.”

If you would like to hear more about this scheme please contact Sandra Simmons on 01724 296668 or email: childrensliteracy@northlincs.gov.uk.

You can follow the progress of the neonatal book gifting project via the North Lincolnshire Children’s Literacy Trust Facebook.

The Health Tree Foundation is the working name of the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust charitable funds and other associated charities. To donate to The Health Tree Foundation visit their website and click on the big red beating heart.

The Big Thank You Appeal provides the opportunity for the community to say ‘thank you’ to the thousands of dedicated staff and volunteers working tirelessly in your NHS across Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Goole. Our teams greatly appreciate the kind words and generosity of patients, visitors and families who benefit from the services delivered in our hospitals and community services.  All donations however big or small can have an immediate effect through this zone.

The Big Thank You fund supports wishes submitted to us through our Circle of Wishes.

A donation of £4 could pay for a t-shirt for our Dignity Room to ensure people have discharged from the hospital can go home with dignity. A donation of £35 could pay for a dementia friendly toilet seat. A donation of £65 can pay for a comfy new chair in our outpatients.

Circle of Wishes – matching donations to need

The Circle of Wishes is the Health Tree Foundation’s unique way of matching the charitable intent of the community with the wishes of the Trust’s patients. Wishes can be put forward by patients, visitors and staff members of the Trust when they see or experience something that needs improving and is above and beyond the Trust’s core expenditure.

You can see the most up-to-date wishes and put forward a wish by visiting The Health Tree Foundation website.

For further information contact The Health Tree Foundation on 07496449726.