TinyLife charity appeals for volunteers

TinyLife charity appeals for volunteers

6 September 2017

TINYLIFE, Northern Ireland’s only premature and sick baby charity, which is based in Carryduff, is appealing for family support and fund-raising volunteers.

Over 2,000 babies are born too soon, too small or too sick in Northern Ireland. Some arrive as early as 24 weeks, weighing as little as alb — the same weight as half a bag of sugar. 

At this understandably very stressful time for parents, TinyLife is there to provide practical advice, emotional support and to give a helping hand to families who have a baby in a neonatal intensive care unit,.

With their network of family support professionals in every neonatal unit across Northern Ireland, TinyLife ensures parents receive optimum support in hospital,  at home and within the community. 

Denise Hall, TinyLife family support officer for the South Eastern area, said: “Last year across Northern Ireland, over 11,000 hours of home-based support were given to families by our current volunteer base.

“Feedback reveals that our service is invaluable, especially in those early days when they feel like they have nowhere else to turn.  As requests increase, we urgently need more volunteers.”  

TinyLife volunteer co-ordinator Sam Brush said: “TinyLife family support volunteers provide essential support to hundreds of families each year, while fundraising events volunteers assist with our packed events calendar. As our family support services are free, volunteers are vital to ensure we can maintain and extend our services”.

 “If you are over 22 and willing to give up one morning or afternoon each week to become a family support volunteer, or over 16 and interested in filling one of our fundraising events volunteer positions and available to assist with evening or weekend events, we would love to hear from you.”

Michele Clarke, a TinyLife fundraising volunteer, discovered first hand how the charity meets the needs of affected families after she gave birth to two premature babies.

“As a mother of two premature sons born nine weeks early I know the value of the service TinyLife provides,” she said. “After the support I received I decided to get involved in fundraising, from spinathons, bag packs and coffee mornings to charity breakfasts and incubator pushes to name but a few.

“I am now involved on a permanent basis setting up a new fundraising group in North Down and Ards. By donating my time I feel that I am able to give a little back to TinyLife.”

Emilie Duncan, whose twins, Charlie and Tilly, were born at 36 weeks., summed up the importance of Tinylife volunteers.

“When my volunteer Carol stepped in I immediately felt safe,” Emilie said. “She was another person to break the intensity and relieve the anxiety, knowing automatically to take the crying baby out of my arms, and do the next feed. She allowed me the valuable time I needed to eat and get washed.

“Both physically and emotionally it changed my world, with long days, two young babies and my husband at work. She helped, listened and cared. Every week before she came I could sleep better knowing that tomorrow would be easier.”

If you would like to find out more about becoming a family support or fundraising events volunteer in your area with TinyLife, please contact Sam Brush, volunteer coordinator, on 028 9081 5050, email sam@tinylife.org.uk.

For further information on TinyLife please visit tinylife.org.uk or find Tinylife on Facebook and Twitter.