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Who are First Touch in Tooting?

Who are First Touch in Tooting?

Kangaroo Care
Kangaroo Care

First Touch was set up in 1998 to support the babies, families and staff on the Neonatal Unit at St George's Hospital. Sarah Collins gives us the first of a regular series of updates about their work and what’s coming up for the rest of 2018.

The NHS celebrated its 70th birthday in July and St George's Hospital's celebrations included a big courtyard tea party with stalls, choirs and speeches!

First Touch had a stall, complete with a giant panda waiting for a lucky winner to name him correctly, and we were delighted to chat with retired midwives, current and ex-neonatal staff and families bringing their neonatal 'graduates' back to the hospital for the day. It certainly brought home the brilliant work of St George's, the neonatal unit and the wonderful staff.

As the charity attached to the neonatal unit at St George's, our work is varied. We fund specialist training for nurses, and last month we paid for six nurses to attend a bereavement course in London, giving ideas and instances of best practice to support and help families when their precious baby dies.

Our main area of work is to fund state-of-the-art medical equipment. Recently, we were asked by neonatal consultants to fund three Baby Leo incubators, the latest and newest incubators on the market. The first was funded by the family of baby Archie, in his memory. We are currently fundraising for the other two. Incubators are vital to care for the small and vulnerable babies in our care. More details on the incubator campaign here:

First Touch NNU
Clare Malston with twins post  London Marathon; a Baby Leo incubator

Our other main area of work is to help families with babies at the neonatal unit. Kangaroo Care, where babies are placed on their parent's chest for prolonged skin-to-skin contact, has huge benefits for sick and premature babies. It regulates their heart beat, breathing and temperature, and stabilises their metabolism. It is also incredibly important for the emotional well-being of the babies and their parents, enabling families to bond at what is a very stressful time for parents.

Special reclining Kangaroo Care Chairs make it possible for parents to hold their babies in a safe and comfortable way, even with all the tubes and wires needed for their treatment. As part of our fundraising for 20 of these chairs, which cost £1440 each, we are asking schools, nurseries, gyms and fitness classes, as well as individuals of all ages, to organise sponsored bounces. You could use trampolines, space hoppers, pogo sticks, or just jump, as you Bounce For Babies – like a kangaroo! Details of the chairs can be found here: 

With the heatwave, we've been helping to keep nursing staff and families cool with free ice lollies and fruit cordials. This is in addition to the tea and coffee that we provide for families.
With 600 babies at the neonatal unit each year, a neonatal charity's work is never done! Next we'll be planning for World Prematurity Day on November 17th, for the Christmas party for neonatal 'graduates' and Christmas stockings for all babies on the neonatal unit on Christmas Day, as well as the annual Neonatal Memorial Service.

Because of the highly specialist care and neonatal surgery available at St George's we take babies from a wide area, including the south east and the south coast. First Touch is a small charity, dedicated to supporting the babies, families and neonatal staff at St George's in Tooting. All donations are very gratefully received and will make a difference to every baby cared for at the neonatal unit.

To find out more, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

First Touch logo


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