Author Archives: Amy Patterson

Earth Day 2021: Eco-friendly fundraising tips

Earth Day is marked on 22nd April each year to highlight the precious nature of the planet and our natural resources, and to open up discussion as to how we can all be more environmentally-friendly in our daily lives. Tiny Lives is passionate about continually reducing our impact on the environment:

Recently, we have…

  • Ensured all of our new collection tubs are made from recycled materials (the latest ones are made from recycled milk and juice cartons!).
  • We have sourced promotional pens that are made from natural plastic (from plants, not oil!).
  • We have stopped using balloons in our fundraising packs and at events.
  • We are working to reduce our paper usage and have moved some of our most frequently used paper forms online, such as our Fundraising Registration Forms.

You can also be a more environmentally-friendly fundraiser! When planning your next event, consider:

  • Promoting your event digitally – Advertising via email and on social media reduces paper waste from posters and flyers
  • Using digital fundraising channels – Raising funds on Enthuse or Just Giving is not only convenient, it reduces paper use from printed sponsorship forms.
  • Reducing your single-use plastic – If you’re selling cakes, consider using recyclable paper packaging to replace plastic bags, and skip the cellophane on your hamper! 
  • Having a clear-out – Giving second-hand clothes and toys a new lease of life by hosting a jumble sale or selling them on eBay for Tiny Lives is much kinder to the planet than letting them go to landfill.
  • Spreading some greenery – For a really green fundraiser, why not consider selling flower bulbs, potted plants, home-grown veggies or seed packs for Tiny Lives? Not only will these bring a smile to someone’s face, they can be planted and bring greenery to your local area. For bonus points, choose some bee-friendly plants! 

Got any more eco-friendly fundraising ideas or would like to suggest how Tiny Lives can further reduce our environmental impact? Get in touch and let us know! 


New: Riverside Buggy Walks for Ward 35 Mams


We know how hard it has been for new Mams who have left Ward 35 being unable to meet up face-to-face with other former Ward 35 Mams to chat about experiences and share valuable new Mam ‘hints and tips’. As the weather improves and restrictions lift, we want to give Ward 35 Mams the opportunity to meet up for a Riverside Buggy Walk with Tiny Lives staff and our Peer Supporters.  

Walks are limited to groups of 6 Mams plus babies to ensure we can keep socially-distanced whilst still able to chat.

The walks will start from  outside the Tiny Lives office, limited free parking is available outside and there are good public transport links. Tiny Lives staff  and peer supporters will meet you on the decking at the rear of the office, next to the river.

Walks will be socially-distanced and places will be limited, keeping to current government guidelines. Due to this limitation, we ask that only one parent per family attend please. Booking is essential so we know who is coming along, please email


  • 5th May
  • 19th May
  • 2nd June
  • 16th June

Note – You will be able to go inside the Tiny Lives office to use the toilet/baby-changing facilities, however this will be in limited numbers at a time, and we ask that you wear a mask if using the facilities inside – thank you. 

This is primarily aimed at supporting Mams who have previously spent time on Ward 35 with their baby/ies, however if you are a Dad who would be interested in taking part in the Riverside Walks let us know here. If we get enough interest, we may be able to set something up. In the meantime, Ward 35 Dads can access dedicated support via the Dad’s Team and Walk While you Wait.


Join us for The Captain Tom 100 Challenge!

We’re asking everyone to get involved in a new challenge, inspired by the amazing Captain Sir Tom and his incredible fundraising! 

This new challenge, The Captain Tom 100 is open to all ages and abilities, and offers the chance to raise vital funds for Tiny Lives, while at the same time celebrating Captain Tom’s generosity of spirit, the hope and joy he brought to millions, and his sense of fun. It’s the perfect opportunity to involve the whole family in some fundraising!

It’s easy to take part, you just need to come up with a challenge based around the number 100, and complete it between Friday 30th April (what would have been Captain Sir Tom Moore’s 101st birthday) and Monday 3rd May.

(We appreciate that some challenges, such as running or cycling challenges, may not be able to be completed across just these few days, so supporters are more than welcome to complete their challenge across the month of April, with the deadline being Monday 3rd May.)

Need some Inspiration? You could…

  • Bike 100km throughout April
  • Make 100 cupcakes and hold a socially-distanced bake sale
  • Build 100 sandcastles 
  • Read 100 books 
  • Do 100 Squats 
  • Eat 100 Marshmallows in one go
  • Do 100 hula-hoops
  • Or, as Captain Tom did, do 100 laps of your garden

How to get involved…

  • Once you’ve picked your fundraising challenge, set up a fundraising page to collect donations. We’d recommend Virgin Money Giving or Just Giving for this challenge.
  • Spread the word! Tell your friends and family, tell your colleagues, tell everyone! Let us know your challenge, and we can help you promote it too. After all, the more people who know about your #CaptainTom100 challenge, the more donations you might get…
  • Share your story, pics and fundraising page on social media using #CaptainTom100.

We are so grateful to have the opportunity as a small North East charity to get involved in this amazing initiative, and we know our supporters will do us proud!

If you’d like any advice on your challenge, or have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Thank you! 

GNR Solo April – Go the Egg-stra Mile!

Spring into action this April! Join the Great Run Solo April Accumulator and raise funds for Tiny Lives. 

The Easter egg themed challenge is to achieve the ‘sweet 16’ – complete 16 (or more) runs or walks in April and you’ll be rewarded with a cracking medal!

Entry is £15.00, which includes a unique finishers medal and access to an online tracking tool. Depending on the distance you cover over the month, you will be awarded with a bespoke digital finishers certificate to download and share. Inspired by this month’s theme, the distance awards are truly eggs-cellent! 


Plus, there is a separate April challenge for junior runners aged 14 years and under, so the whole family can get involved!  The Spring Chicks challenge is for ages 9 & under, and The Good Eggs challenge is for ages 10 to 14 years. Entry for the junior challenges is £10.00, which includes a unique finishers medal and access to downloadable activity sheets. 

The challenge starts on 1 April and finishes on 30 April, making it the perfect run buddy to keep you moving through the month. You can join anytime from now until Monday 12 April at 10am, when entries close. 

Don’t be an April Fool, make sure you get signed up to this month’s challenge in order to receive an egg-stra special medal!  Find out more and enter here: 

Once you’ve signed up, remember to set up a fundraising page for Tiny Lives on Just Giving or Enthuse, and spread the word amongst your friends and family.

Happy running! 

Join us for a fundraising Easter Quiz!

Our Easter Quiz is now SOLD OUT. Thank you so much to everyone who booked a slot – we’ll see you soon! 

Join us for a fun-filled evening for all the family as we host an online Easter Quiz! It will take place on Saturday 10th April, 5pm – 6pm and every family who takes part will receive a special Easter Box*, kindly donated by our friends at Ubisoft CRC, containing:

  • A Ubisoft Rabbids facemask
  • Crayons
  • An Easter animal mask
  • An Easter themed balloon head
  • Chocolate treats & foil eggs
  • A healthy treat
  • A basket weaving kit
  • A hanging egg decoration
  • Easter stickers
  • A small puzzle book.

To enter, we ask for a small donation (£5 suggested), although anything you can give would be so gratefully received, and will help us to support families on Ward 35. It’s sure to be egg-cellent fun!

*Boxes recommended suitable for ages 2 – 8yrs.

Tiny Lives Storytime – World Book Day 2021

Thursday 4th March marks World Book Day, a day to celebrate the magic of books and reading! Reading to babies in the Neonatal Unit has a host of wonderful benefits, and is a great form of bonding. Usually, a special coffee morning would be held on the RVI Neonatal Unit to spread the word and share the joy of reading to babies, but this year we’ll be celebrating a little differently. 

Off the Unit, Ward 35 parents (in fact, any parents!) can enjoy a two different storytime videos from Tiny Lives. Our Projects Development Officer Jacqui (and her adorable Basset Hound, Hepsi) bring you Oi Dog by Kes & Claire Gray and Jim Field  – you can watch it below.

Our Corporate Fundraiser, Rachel reads Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury. You can watch it below: 

On the Unit, parents will be encouraged to take some time to read to their babies across the day, with a new storybook for each family being kindly donated by Tiny Lives supporter, and former Ward 35 Parent, Stacey.

Ward 35 nurses will also be making a post-it note display of favourite books, so make sure to add your suggestion to the wall!

Please note – All of the stories read here are the intellectual property of the authors, we make no claim to them! We’re simply sharing some of our favourites. 


Support Tiny Lives this Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and whilst for some this will mean flowers, lie-ins and breakfast in bed, others will be spending their first Mother’s Day in hospital, visiting their baby on the RVI Neonatal Unit.

1 in 7 babies will need Neonatal Care every year, so it’s likely that you will know someone who has been in this tough situation. You can make a difference today by donating today

Tiny Lives is the dedicated charity for the Neonatal Unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. We support over 800 babies and their families each year, and aim to raise £350,000 a year to continue our services. Tiny Lives is always there for Neonatal families, funding vital support such as:

  • The vCreate video messaging service, which connects parents and babies who can’t be together, reducing separation anxiety. The baby’s nurse films and sends videos to the family through this secure service, documenting little moments that are so precious to Mams and Dads.
  • Miniboo Bonding Aids, which allow mother and baby to bond even when they may not be able to touch (some babies who are born very prematurely cannot be handled or cuddled for some time after birth, so Miniboos offer a vital connection between parents and babies). The baby has one in the incubator, Mam keeps one down her top and they swap them at each visit so that they can be comforted by each others’ scent. Miniboos also aid with breast milk production too, as Mam can better visualise their baby when expressing.
  • Mental health support for families, including funding a Clinical Psychologist on Ward 35. Having a baby born early or sick can be one of the most distressing experiences a parent can face, so this mental health support is essential to their wellbeing.
  • Parking Permits for each family, meaning that no parent has to suffer financially because their baby needs to spend time on the Neonatal Unit. Tiny Lives funds a parking pass or public transport pass for every family on Ward 35, ensuring they can visit their baby without incurring these costs. Babies can spend months on a Neonatal Unit, and these costs really can stack up. By covering this, we hope to ease some of the stress faced by these new parents.

And on Mother’s Day, we also fund a member of staff to make special, handmade cards for each Mam ‘from’ their baby, ensuring they can still experience the magic of their first Mother’s Day – even if it is nothing like they may have imagined.

We can only continue our support this Mother’s Day – and every day – with the help of donations from kind supporters. Even £1 will go towards helping to support vulnerable babies and families at some of their toughest moments.

Thank you.

We’re recruiting – Chair of the Board of Trustees

Do you want to play a key part in shaping the future of a prominent North East charity?

We are seeking a new Chair of the Board, who will succeed our current Chair who reaches the end of her term in the next year.

The Chair will provide leadership and direction for the Board of Trustees and enable it to fulfil its roles and responsibilities, ensuring that Tiny Lives is operating efficiently and aiding as many families as possible.

The successful candidate will also play a vital role in redefining the charity’s strategy in the forthcoming year.

If you have the following qualities and abilities, we would love to hear from you:

  • The ability to build relationships and promote cohesion and trust throughout the organisation.
  • A confident leader, with the ability to Chair and manage meetings effectively, ensuring that decisions made are acted upon.
  • A knowledge of PR would be beneficial, as you may have to act in a public relations/ambassadorial role when appropriate.
  • An understanding of business and strategic planning is key. You should be able to summarise issues and decisions in order to aid Board deliberations and decision making.
  • Good with numbers, i.e.. financially competent to the level required for ensuring effective scrutiny at Board level.
  • Senior management experience would be beneficial, as you will be required to provide supervision and undertake annual appraisals of the Head of Tiny Lives using the agreed process.
  • Strong communications skills, including the ability to make presentations, speak to and liaise with the media, and chair any external-sector meetings as required.

You do not necessarily have to have served on a Board prior to application, although this experience would be advantageous.

The post of Chair of the Board of Trustees is not renumerated, although reasonable out-of-pocket expenses will be reimbursed according to the rates agreed by the Board.

To find out more, please download the Application Pack.

The Tiny Lives Trust is an independent charity which supports premature or unwell newborn babies and their families in the North East of England. We’re proud to support over 800 families every year through their neonatal journey, which can be one of the most difficult and life-changing challenges a family experience. Tiny Lives is here to help ensure the best possible outcomes for babies and their families throughout this neonatal journey.

Proud to support #NeverMoreNeeded

As we navigate the worst impacts of the outbreak, people across the country are relying on the work of charities, the essential support they provide and how they shape our society for the better. As a charity, we know first-hand the impact that charities can have on people’s lives. #NeverMoreNeeded is a campaign that aims to highlight the invaluable work of charities and non-profits.

Tiny Lives has felt the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in:

  • Reduced fundraising – supporters cannot safely carry out their own events, as well as high profile events such as the Great North Run and our Charity Ball needing to be cancelled.
  • Donors being unable to support the charity as they may wish to, as their own income has been reduced due to furlough or redundancy. 
  • The need to adapt our services so that we can still continue to support families, such as taking our Meet, Chat, Learn parent and baby classes online and developing virtual fundraisers. 

During the pandemic, we have also offered additional levels of support to families that directly address the impact of COVID-19, such as:

  • Funding taxi journeys to and from the RVI during the peak of the first Lockdown, enabling parents to visit their baby without risking exposure on public transport (in partnership with LA Taxis).
  • Funding a hardship fund for Ward 35 parents, offering financial assistance to families in need.
  • Funding local accommodation for families from outside of the area, allowing them to stay near their baby.
  • Funding additional iPads on the Neonatal Ward for the vCreate system (also funded by Tiny Lives), which allows nurses to send videos of babies to their parents when they can’t be together, helping to reduce separation anxiety. 

You can support the campaign by sharing your stories about Tiny Lives on social media with the hashtag #NeverMoreNeeded, or by donating here. Any amount will make a huge difference to babies and families on the RVI Neonatal Unit.

Thank you. 


New Term of Meet, Chat, Learn Classes

The Meet, Chat, Learn programme offers baby classes free-of-charge to Ward 35 parents, whether they’re on or off the Ward. The classes are fully-funded by Tiny Lives (and occasionally via grants from external funders), and cover a whole host of topics, including Baby Massage, Baby Yoga and Music, Movement and Sensory. 

They offer a great chance for parents and babies to bond, have fun and learn new skills, as well as the chance for parents to chat and get to know others who have experienced the Neonatal Unit. At the moment, all of these classes are via Zoom.

The new term starts on Monday 22nd February, the programme is available here. Please email to book – spaces are limited, so don’t hesitate! 

“I am ever so grateful to Tiny Lives for the opportunity of joining all classes , online and face-to-face. I’ve made lots of memories with my baby for their development and enjoyed meeting new parents like myself, which has been lovely.”