Author Archives: Amy Patterson

Meet, Chat, Learn Classes – Summer Sessions!

School’s out for Summer, but that doesn’t mean you and your little one still can’t learn some new things! We’re delighted to have three Summer Sessions from our Meet, Chat, Learn providers for Ward 35 parents to enjoy across the Summer –  free of charge!

Choose from:

Baby Yoga Pre-Recorded Course  (Weekly, 2nd – 23rd August) – Suitable for babies aged 6 weeks (corrected) – sitting unaided. 

Baby Massage Pre-Recorded Course (Weekly, 2nd – 23rd August) – Suitable for babies aged 6 weeks (corrected) – sitting unaided. 

Music, Movement and Sensory Face-to-Face Course (5th – 26th August) – Taking place on Thursdays at Raven Valley Gym Club, Unit 2a, Riverside Park, Gateshead, NE11 9DJ – 1.00pm – 2.00pm. Suitable for babies aged  6 weeks (corrected) – 18 months


Tiny Lives are delighted to have received funding to resume our face-to-face classes, which for the next year are funded by a generous grant from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Join us for OTea and Biscuits: Aug – Sept 2021

This course is run by Ward 35’s Occupational Therapist: OTea and Biscuits is a safe, friendly place to spend some one-to-one time with your baby and get to meet some new friends (or join some old ones!) who have also spent time on Ward 35 (the Neonatal Unit) at the RVI. Other Ward 35 Allied Health Professionals will also join some of the sessions.

You can book here

Each session starts with an educational talk specific to pre-term health and development and finishes with OTea and Biscuits – free time to talk about your baby and how you are. 

You can see a full breakdown of session topics below:

Week 1: Neonatal Development After Prematurity

Week 2: Sensory Development, Behavioural States & Baby Communication

Week 3: Your wellbeing

Week 4: Play

Week 5: Sleep & Feeding

Week 6: Listening Touch Baby Massage

The sessions run from 2.00pm – 3.00pm and take place at the Children’s Centre in Fawdon, Cairns Way, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 2SN.

This course is suitable for babies from 6 weeks – 6 months (corrected) to support their ongoing development.

It is a 6 week course (split into 2 terms), and attendees would be expected to come to every session to make the most of it. The dates are:

Term 1

4th August
11th August
18th August

Term 2

8th September
15th September
22nd September

Places are limited, you can reserve your spot here. 


July Fundraiser: Picnic for Preemies and Pals!

July is National Picnic Month, and we need YOU to gather your friends, family (and tiny sandwiches) to raise funds for Tiny Lives! 

Picnic for Preemies and Pals is a new initiative from Tiny Lives, encouraging friends and family to get together, enjoy a delicious picnic and raise funds for Tiny Lives!

We want to make sure this is an inclusive event for our families, hence why it is for Preemies and Pals – many babies on the Neonatal Unit are born at full-term, yet still need some additional care and support. This can be due to illness, or for a specific issue (trouble breathing, for example). 

Your tasty get-together could help to support over 800 of these vulnerable babies on the RVI Neonatal Unit, as well as their families. 

This is how it works:
  • Decide when to host your picnic and invite your friends and family. Please make sure to adhere to current social-distancing and COVID guidelines – we want you all to be safe! This includes regularly washing hands (especally around food!), keeping 2 metres apart and having no more than 30 people gathering outdoors. 
  • For every attendee, we ask for a suggested donation of £5.00 to Tiny Lives. Think of it as an ‘admission fee’ to the picnic! This can be donated via this link, or by texting ‘Donate tinylives CAKE’ to 88802. 
  • Pack your picnic – go traditional with sandwiches, crisps, and scones (cream before jam for us!), or go fancy with cheeses, deli platters, and wine – the choice is yours. You can even download a Picnic for Preemies and Pals Card, that you can fill in to let people know why you’re taking part. 
  • Make sure to take some pics and share them with us, you can email them over or use the hashtag #PicnicforPreemiesandPals. We’ll share our favourites! 
  • If you’d like to make even more of an impact, why not have some additional fundraisers during your picnic, such as a raffle? We’ve pulled together some ideas for you here.

Thank you so much for supporting Tiny Lives! As always, we couldn’t continue our work without you.


Submissions Open – Ward 35 Parent Stories

We’re looking for parents who are willing to share their story about their time on the RVI Neonatal Unit with us, to be used on our website, social media channels, and potentially further afield.

We know that every family’s experience is different and we want to share as many as possible. By sharing your story, you’ll be helping to inform, comfort, and inspire everyone who comes into contact with Tiny Lives.

New parents on the Ward find great reassurance in reading about other families who have also been through this difficult experience.

If you’d like to share your story, you can do so using this form. We may be in touch for further details if needed to publish your story.

Thank you! 


Daddy and Me Online Baby Yoga – Book Now!

This class is no longer open for bookings. If you would be interested in a Daddy and Me Baby Yoga class in the future, please let us know

Father’s Day is almost here and we want to celebrate all of our amazing Ward 35 Dads! We’ve arranged a special, free Online Baby Yoga session with our friends at Kalmababy on Saturday 19th June 2021, taking place 10.00am -11.00am.

This interactive class is open exclusively to Ward 35 parents and is designed to help Dad and baby enjoy some fun bonding time. The class is suitable for babies ages 6 weeks (corrected) to those sitting unaided.

Although designed for Dads, Mams and partners are more than welcome to take part too. 

Once you sign up, you’ll receive a Zoom link via email ahead of the class, which you’ll use to join. 


Face-to-Face Parent and Baby Classes return: June 2021


We are thrilled to annouce that our next term of free Meet, Chat, Learn baby and parent classes will be face-to-face.

We have loved connecting with so many amazing families virtually, but we can’t wait to meet some Ward 35 families in person! Parents can choose from any of the below classes to enjoy with their little one, and are free to choose more than one:


  • Music, Movement and Sensory – book now


The whole programme can be found here

There will still be the option for online Yoga and Massage classes this term too, for families who live futher afield, for those who don’t wish to attend face-to-face classes, or for those who can’t make the classes at the times specified. 

Please rest assured that all classes have had vigorous risk assesments and we will be undertaking strict measures to ensure you can enjoy the class safely, including additional sanitising of the rooms and equipment, limited group numbers for social distancing, and a track and trace policy. Risk assessments can be provided upon request. 

Tiny Lives are delighted to have received funding to resume our face-to-face classes, which for the next year are funded by a generous grant from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Join Tiny Lives for 5K May

Could you take on a 5K for premature and sick babies this May?  

We’re taking part in 5KMay and challenging our supporters to run 5K, donate £5 to Tiny Lives, and nominate 5 people to take on the challenge (bonus points if you share your run on social media!).

All ages and fitness abilities welcome, you can run, walk, or skip your 5K – whatever is doable for you. It’s the perfect challenge to get the whole family out in the fresh air this month!

It’s easy to get involved:

  • Run or walk your 5K
  • Donate £5 to Tiny Lives here.
  • Nominate 5 friends to take on the 5K challenge (privately or via social media)
  • Post your #5KMay selfie on social media and spread the word of your amazing fundraising! 

Fancy a longer challenge? Why not set up your own fundraiser? Find out more here.

Peer Support Volunteers needed

Applications for this round of Peer Support Recruitment are now closed. If you’re interested in being considered for a future supporter role, please complete this form to be added to a wait list, and you will be contacted during the next period of recruitment – thank you! 

Are you a Mam who has previously spent time on the RVI Neonatal Unit?  Would you like to be able to offer support to other Mams experiencing a neonatal journey? If so, you could be just who we are looking for!

We recruit Peer Support Volunteers for Tiny Lives four times a year. Peer support can make a huge difference to families who spend time in neonatal care. Tiny Lives Peer supporters will offer informal 1:1 help and support to Mams on Ward 35 and when discharged home.

Volunteers will work on the RVI Neonatal Unit at dedicated drop-in sessions, and support Peer Support activities taking place off-site (such as Buggy Walks). Volunteers would be expected to be able to commit a minimum of 2 hours a week.

If you’re interested and fulfil the below criteria, we would love to hear from you:

  • You are a Ward 35 Mam who has been discharged from the Neonatal Unit for at least 1 year.
  • You are good listener and communicator.
  • You can actively listen and respond without judgment.
  • You have a willingness to support people from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures.
  • You are reliable, dependable and flexible.
  • You have experience of using email and social media, with access to both.

Full training will be provided via Tiny Lives and the NuTH Trust Volunteering Team, and all volunteers must undergo an enhanced DBS check. Whilst this is not a paid position, volunteers can claim reasonable out of pocket expenses.

To find out more, please download the Expression of Interest Pack. Any queries regarding Peer Support should be sent to You can complete this form to be added to the wait list.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Tiny Lives Family Survey 2021

The Tiny Lives Family Survey is one of our largest surveys of Ward 35 families, and allows us to get vital feedback from those who have been through the neonatal experience themselves.

By sharing your thoughts with us, you’ll be helping to shape the future of Tiny Lives. We use results from the Family Survey to:

  • Help us understand the impact of what we currently fund for families.
  • Identify areas that could be improved.
  • Plan new services, projects and equipment that may help future neonatal families both on Ward 35 and once home

The survey should take around 30 minutes. We know that you’re busy, but if you could take the time to complete this survey we would be very grateful.

Click here to take the survey.

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!