We have over a thousand babies come through the unit each year, each needing 2-3 blankets each.
We also leave items out for people to take and if they can afford it, leave a donation. Each year, this raises in excess of £6000 that goes directly back in to the unit, helping parents and our amazing NHS staff.
These keepsake gifts for each family to treasure are so appreciated and loved by those that receive them. Your knitting makes a huge difference to the work of SSNAP - thank you.
Items we use:
These need to be knitted, not crocheted, without decorative holes, as we have to be extra careful in hospitals that babies do not get their fingers caught and possibly damaged in the holes. Any blankets should ideally be 24 inches square, or larger. Either square or rectangle is fine.
We use cardigans regularly and any design with at least one button/ fastening is useful. Most commonly these are needed by babies who are big enough to be nursed in a cot and need the extra warmth. These babies are usually 3lb in weight up to full term in size.
We are only able to use ‘beanie’ type hats that slip onto a baby’s head. For safety reasons we cannot use hats held on by ribbon or knitted ‘strings’ around the neck. We can use all sizes of hat from one that would fit a baby’s head the size of an orange, up to full term size.
Mittens and Booties
We only use a small number of these, often to stop babies scratching themselves, or pulling their tubes out. Newborn size please.
From time to time we may request special items. These have included knitted bowels (yes, bowels not bowls!) for NEC day, and knitted hearts to symbolise world prematurity day. These requests will be posted on our social media platforms.
Knitted Toys/ Novelty Items
We usually offer these to brothers and sisters of the babies on the unit, as we cannot guarantee these are safe for babies. Christmas items such as ‘mini santa hats’ are greatly enjoyed by parents and are saved up and given out at Christmas time.
Sadly some babies will not survive to go home from hospital. These babies may be from 300g in size to large full term babies. We often keep the most beautiful knitting, blankets, toys and allow parents to choose anything they might wish to, for dressing their baby in. This is the only circumstance in which we use very tiny cardigans, hats, booties, etc. We also pass these small items onto the post- natal wards which sometimes need them as well.
What we cannot use:
We do not currently use knitted or fabric ‘bonding squares’, as instead we use a specially designed product for our babies.
Ideally do not send us blankets which are made of joined up squares, because they tend to distort and start falling apart at the seams after only one use. This is because all the knitting on the unit is hot washed at 60°C and tumble dried. Any that are sent are added to our items for sale.
We do not need those hats designed to hold ventilator tubing in place, which often have a knitted ‘flap’ in the top.
We are unable to accept crocheted octopus, or cannula covers.
We never want the knitting or crochet that is donated to us to go to waste, so if we receive items that we are unable to use we will make every effort to pass these on to someone that can use them. This may be our sale items, other departments in the Womens Centre, to hospital staff going overseas, or to a charity- either for their use, or for them to sell and raise funds.
At present we do not have our own knitting patterns. Many are available online, often free of charge.
Please post your items, with your own details, to SSNAP, Level 2 Women’s Centre, JR Hospital, Oxford, OX3 9DU or please do get in touch to arrange to deliver in person - the office is often unoccupied as we are on the unit supporting families.
A huge heartfelt thank you to our knitters.