Fundraising campaign to 'future proof' hospital facilities

ROTHERHAM’S tiniest hospital patients have inspired a big fundraising campaign aimed at raising £150,000 to redevelop the neonatal unit.

Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity’s new ‘Tiny Toes’ appeal will help upgrade facilities constantly used by parents that have become worn and outdated since the unit was designed in the late 1970s and built 40 years ago.

Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust is looking to completely refurbish the unit to future-proof it for generations to come, with the charity fundraising for the added extras.

Alison Cowie, head of nursing for children’s services, said: “In 2022 we looked after more than 400 newborns on our neonatal unit and, although we are incredibly proud of the care we provide, the old unit is dated and the layout needs redeveloping to make the best use of the space we have.”

The Tiny Toes appeal will fund a complete overhaul of the existing family rooms, including repainting and soft furnishings, new furniture, modern showers and kitchen facilities.

Heating, lighting and accessibility will be updated and the old-fashioned ‘viewing corridor’ removed to create additional space.

The campaign will also fund items including recliner chairs so parents can sleep beside their baby’s cot.

The unit currently cares for an average 14 babies at a time, but will accommodate 16 once it is reconfigured.

Jessica Kendall spent five weeks on the unit with babies Frankie and Lottie after the twins were born prematurely last January 2022.

She said: “The care we received was exemplary and I felt the staff really knew the babies individual personalities.”

The charity is encouraging the public to support the campaign, launched during the NHS’ 75th anniversary year, by hosting fundraising events or taking part in sponsored challenges such as a Charity Golf Day at Rotherham Golf Club on Thursday, September 21 or a a 'Polar Plunge' with The Breath Connection at Manvers Lake on Saturday 25 November.

Rachael Dawes, head of fundraising, added: “Our Tiny Toes appeal is really heartfelt for us because we know that every penny raised will make a massive difference to the most vulnerable patients we care for and their parents.”