How you can help

Volunteers are an extremely important part of our team and are vital for the continued support of neonatal families. 

You don’t have to have had a baby in a neonatal unit to get involved as a volunteer.  You might want to support some of the regular ongoing support activities of The Neonatal Trust like writing newsletters or website content, managing our database of volunteers, or just help us from time to time as you can with running events and fundraising.
Whatever contribution you can make, big or small, your help is welcomed and appreciated!

The Neonatal Trust has a range of opportunities for volunteers and the level of commitment is completely up to you.   We will help match your valuable skills, interests and availability with one of our opportunities to support others. Here’s some examples of how you can help:

Knitting / Sewing

Knitters and/or sewers are a required for creating items such as blankets, sheets, muslins, hats and booties for our precious babies.

Baking

Baking is gratefully received for World Prematurity Day and other events

Raising Awareness

When we have events, or are generally looking to raise awareness, it’s great to have help handing out fliers and contacts local organisations

Collecting

We have several opportunities per year that require collectors to help us raise awareness and raise funds

If you feel you are able to volunteer for us, we would love to hear from you!  Please email us and provide us with your name and the area of New Zealand you live in. Someone will be in touch with you to learn a bit more about you.

Volunteer Profile – Leah Green.

How did you come to volunteer for The Neonatal Trust?

I’ve always been interested in working with families and new-borns and want to take that path with my nursing career (as I am studying to become a Registered Nurse). I came across the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the amazing work that is done there. I also saw and read how being admitted to the unit can take its toll on families. I really wanted to do something now to help and . . .

You can read more about Neonatal Trust Volunteer Leah Green here.

Volunteer Profile – Kaye Wilson.

How did you come to volunteer for The Neonatal Trust?

I am a firm believer in that what goes around comes around.  I like to give back to those that have helped me.

Our daughter spent a month in Christchurch and Wellington NICU’s in 2008.  She was born 9 weeks premature, while we were on holiday in the South Island.  It was a traumatic time, especially being air lifted back to Wellington on day 4 . . .

You can read more about Neonatal Trust Volunteer Kaye Wilson here.

Volunteer Profile – Jenn Gilbert.

How did you come to volunteer for The Neonatal Trust?

In 2014 my daughter, Ada, was born unexpectedly at 30 weeks in Wellington, due to pre-eclampsia and abruption.

Because of this she spent 7 weeks in the Wellington NICU and I got to know the lovely, friendly faces of the Neonatal Trust ladies in the Trust shop. They were so supportive through the NICU journey and offered practical help too, for example around hiring a breast pump.

Once my daughter was discharged I went along to the Trust coffee groups for a while, which was a life saver when my daughter was still facing issues from her premature birth in her early months, and I knew the mums there ‘got it.’

You can read more about Neonatal Trust Volunteer Jenn Gilbert here.

Volunteer Profile – Rae.

How did you come to volunteer for The Neonatal Trust?

For the last 9 years (3 years for the NICU ward) and (6 year for The Neonatal Trust shop) I have knitted and donated 85 pure wool blankets to the shop every year to sell.

For the last 2 years I have knitted an additional 55 blankets to give as Christmas Presents for the babies who are in NICU Wellington and SCBU Lower Hutt on Christmas Day.

I have also made Christmas Stockings (pictured to the right) for the last 3 years to sell in the shop and are currently making some to sell at their Thorndon Fair stall.

You can read more about Neonatal Trust Volunteer Rae here.

Cleverly crafty

Calling all crafty folk!

Looking for something crafty to do? Got a friend or family member who’s keen to support or learn a new skill? You can do this and support some of New Zealand’s tiniest and most vulnerable babies at the same time!

You don’t need to be an expert, there are plenty of easy, simple projects for all abilities:

Quilts

Quilt fabric should be 100% cotton and measure approximately 80cm x 80cm

Please use machine washable batting so it doesn’t shrink in the industrial wash and no embellishments e.g. buttons or ribbon

Incubator covers  (Isolette Covers)

Incubator covers are 1mx1.2m. The outside fabric can be any pattern of your choice and preferably a plain darker colour on the underneath side so as to protect baby’s eyes from light and visual stimulation. They don’t necessarily need to be quilted but preferably double weighted so they don’t slip.  However, if you do decide to use batting, please ensure it is machine washable so it doesn’t shrink in the industrial wash. No embellishments please e.g. buttons or ribbon

Cot sheets

Please make these from 100% brushed cotton (flannelette), measuring approximately 110x70cms

Muslins

100% cotton muslin measuring approximately 90x60cms with a simple overlocked or bound/hemmed

Scent hearts

Scent Hearts are given to parents whose babies are cared for in some Neonatal Units in New Zealand. The hearts are made in pairs to give to mum to wear in her bra or dad to wear on his chest whilst they are apart from baby. The second heart is placed near baby so they can smell each other and feel loved.  The hearts are then swapped frequently to help maintain a bond.  Note: Nurses in the Unit will further instruct Parents on the use and handling of the Scent Hearts.

Wool is great for neonatal babies

Babies love wool!

Did you know 100% wool is a beautiful natural fibre that importantly is breathable? (unlike synthetics and acrylics, which can cause a baby to sweat and overheat).  Babies born early cannot regulate their own body heat and the use of wool is key to ensuring their body can focus on growing and developing.

What should I knit?

While 100% woollen items of all shapes and sizes are gratefully accepted, if you are considering knitting, please be aware that we often go through periods of time with an abundance of certain items, and much less of others.  It’s also important to note that babies generally don’t wear anything whilst they are in an incubator, it’s not until they get into an open cot when they’re a bit bigger that they are then able to wear clothing.  For this reason, please aim for closer to a new born sized garment.

At the moment we have a very large supply of smaller booties and beanies. The following items we have less of and would be greatfully received:

  • New born size cardigans
  • Cot / Bassinette size blankets, approx. 60 x 65cm in size
  • New born size singlets
  • Squares approximately 10cm x 10cm in size. These can then be sewn together to create blankets by our volunteers

A free cardigan pattern can be found here, but you are welcome to use your own patterns too!

Garments can be posted to the following address. We will then, as part of our co-ordination, distribute to the units most in need of the particular items:

The Neonatal Trust
PO Box 9366
Marion Square
Wellington 6141

Do you accept crochet items?

Yes absolutely!  As long as it’s made from 100% wool, we will gratefully receive crochet items

A massive thank you to all who knit to support neonatal families and their babies!  Be proud that your support helps to make a difficult start to life that little bit easier for families going through the stress and anxiety of a neonatal journey.

The benefits of knitting

Knitting and crocheting are often associated with friends and family. The craftwork in progress may be intended for a loved one or perhaps it is being created while in the company of friends, family or a social knitting group. Knitting is a fantastic hobby for individuals and the basic stitches are very easy to pick up.

The act of knitting is recommended to peoples of all genders and ages as it provides unexpected benefits for both physical and mental health – with the enjoyment and satisfaction factors on top of this.

Here are 5 things to know about knitting:

  • It can help with managing stress, anxiety, and depression
  • It keeps your brain healthy
  • It can help your motor skills
  • It is a meditative act
  • It instils pride upon completion

Read more details on the benefits, in a document easy to print or share, here.