Spoons founder Kirsten Mitchell (centre) with volunteers Stacey Dawson (left) and Beth Hurst (right).
April 26, 2019
Middleton woman who set up neonatal charity wins Northern Power Award
A woman from Middleton who founded a neonatal charity has been named the Person with Purpose at the Northern Power Woman Awards.
Founder of neonatal charity Spoons Kirsten Mitchell was recognised for her work supporting families in neonatal units in Greater Manchester and beyond.
Now in its third year, the awards scheme celebrates role models as part of a campaign to accelerate gender diversity across the north of England.
Kirsten set up Spoons three years ago following her own experience when her third child was born at 24 weeks. Over a year of hospital visits and operations, Kirsten found out first hand just how traumatic having a baby in the neonatal unit can be, not just on mothers, but the whole family.
After discharge from the neonatal unit, Kirsten and her family felt they didn't have access to adequate emotional or practical support and realised that the help needed doesn't end when the babies go home. Because of this, they wanted to do something to improve services for other families.
Spoons has worked closely with neonatal units across Greater Manchester, including Oldham, helping more than 3,000 families to date.
Last year, Spoons started to fund a pilot scheme for professional mental health support for parents and the charity received funding for this from the Postcode Lottery.
Kirsten says: "Every year, over 100,000 babies are admitted to neonatal units in England, Scotland and Wales. Whether the babies are full-term or premature, it's a worrying and often traumatic time for families. We're committed to helping as many of these families across Greater Manchester as possible, not only with the practicalities of spending so much time in hospital, but the emotional and psychological support too."