"I saw that parents need our support too – the Charity helped make my idea a reality”
It’s stressful having a child in hospital, and can be difficult for parents to rest, relax and take time for themselves.
Even if they do feel able to leave the ward, it can be hard to find something purposeful to do around the hospital without being too far away from their child. We started Craft Angels to get parents together to talk about how they’re feeling, whilst getting creative and making toys for children.
I like being able to give something back to the Charity, which has given me the chance to run a project I truly love.
Parents can end up staying in hospital for long periods of time while their child is receiving treatment, which can be a very isolating and lonely experience. We find the sessions give them some ‘me time’. They can come and have a cup of tea and a chat with volunteers and other parents whilst making something lovely for the children. We get a mix of both mums and dads who make all sorts, from knitted toys for babies on the unit, to patchwork quilts and felt ornaments. The knitted octopuses are a firm favourite! They tell us the sessions give them some relief from what’s happening with their sick child, and provide a chance to hear other parents’ experiences, which helps them to cope.
My colleague and friend Melinda had really positive experiences of working with the Charity. She’s worked for the Trust for almost 30 years, and is involved in a support project for teenagers that also received funding. So when it came to making our Craft Angels idea into reality, we got in touch with the Charity right away. We knew there would be start-up costs to get the project off the ground, but we’ve been supported every step of the way.
We were absolutely delighted when our funding application was accepted - without the backing from the Charity, there’s no way we would have been able to deliver this project.
Our little venture has also led us to start fundraising. We arrange craft stalls throughout the year where volunteers and parents sell their crafts, including wooden toys, painted glassware, knitted items and cakes.
We even have parents offer to come back and make toys to sell after their children have already left the hospital – we call them ‘Craft friends’. Fundraising is our way of showing that, although we’ve received money from the Charity to start up, we can help make the project sustainable by raising funds for ourselves. I also like being able to give something back to the Charity, which has given me the chance to run a project I truly love.
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