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Family Support Coordinator Jo Willard (left) with NICU parent Debbie Thwaites.

February 1, 2018

Snack bar initiative helps refresh NICU parents in need

Young mother Debbie Thwaites has set up a free snack bar in the NICU at Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust after giving birth to her daughter Charlotte at 33 weeks gestation in 2014, and son Oscar at 26 weeks' in 2015 at the hospital.

Debbie said: "While I was at the NICU I noticed a need for refreshment for parents as premature babies arrive so unexpectedly. My local church in Guildford supported me with food hampers while I was at the unit, and we decided to provide snacks to other parents in the same situation."

"I found a stand and decided to hold fundraising parties where people could bring snacks or vouchers to fill the stand. We made a sign suggesting that if parents want to contribute they can donate back onto the stand."

Debbie has now helped set up snack stands and signs, not only at St Peter's Hospital but also at Northampton General and Watford General, with the help of her church and other parents of premature babies. They are in the process of setting up a stand at John Radcliff Hospital, Oxford, and are hoping to help out many more in the future.

Jo Willard, Family Support Coordinator at St Peter's Hospital, says: "All of the families who use the parent accommodation really appreciate the stand. If they have a very sick baby they are unable to leave the unit as every moment is precious. They are able to help themselves and it saves them the worry. Many parents buy food items to go on the stand for other parents to help themselves."


 Useful contact details
Ashford-St Peter's NHS Trust

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