For the second post in our Charity Spotlight series, we spoke to Kirsten from Manchester-based charity, Spoons, to find out more about their incredible work supporting families experiencing neonatal care.
Hi Kirsten, tell us a little bit about yourself and the charity you work for
I have three children, my youngest little boy was born very prematurely at 24 weeks gestation and spent a long time in neonatal intensive care. Just after his first birthday I set up Spoons, along with two other parents, with the aim of supporting other families experiencing neonatal care. Our mission is to provide emotional and practical support to parents and raise funds to improve the services and facilities on the neonatal units. I am a trustee on the board and also manage the day to day running of the charity.
What is a day in the life like for you at Spoons?
It is hard work, but I absolutely love it. Every day brings different challenges and my role within the charity is quite broad. I volunteer as a Peer Supporter for Spoons so get to engage with lots of families on the unit and out in the community. I also manage the fundraising side of things which is hard work but a lot of fun.
What is your personal motivation for working at Spoons? What inspires you?
My own experience of neonatal care has been my driving force. My little boy was on the neonatal unit for almost five months so I know how isolating it can be for parents and understand the challenges they face. It is a very traumatic experience and can impact quite negatively on your mental health, supporting parents through this is really important to me and I am lucky enough to meet many strong babies and their equally strong families.
Can you tell me about someone who has benefitted from your work?
I think it would be fair to say that most parents who have a baby in neonatal care at North Manchester or Royal Oldham benefit from our work. Even if we don’t engage with them via our peer support service, every parent that has a baby on the unit receives one of our welcome packs, we also provide lots of little things to help them make memories throughout their neonatal journey. We have made some fantastic improvements to the services available to families and we are really proud of that.
What is something that might surprise someone about your charity or beneficiaries?
Spoons is run solely by volunteers, we currently don’t have one single person on the payroll. All our volunteers and trustees have experienced neonatal care, either as a parent themselves or from a nursing background. All our peer support volunteers have been parents on the unit, some were supported by Spoons during their own journey and have wanted to help other parents.
What’s your favourite thing about working for Spoons?
It is such a diverse role it would be impossible to say but it is the best feeling in the world when parents tell you how invaluable our support has been to them. I love engaging with the families and I feel very honoured to play a small part in their neonatal journey.
How can people get involved with Spoons?
We are always on the lookout for people to get involved. Whether it be new trustees for the board, peer support volunteers, fundraisers or corporate sponsorship, we would love to hear from anyone who thinks they help us grow the charity and support more babies and their families. Anyone interested should contact email@example.com or visit our website.
Do you know a great organisation that you’d like to see on Buengo? You can suggest them here.