Category Archive: News

Run 35 for Ward 35

We need YOU to run, jog or walk 35 miles in January to support Tiny Lives and Ward 35!

We get it. It’s cold, dark, and we’re in Lockdown. But, this means more disruption for the charity sector – fewer fundraising events, fewer donations. So, by lacing up your trainers and getting out into the fresh air, to run, walk or jog 35 miles, you could be doing something amazing for Tiny Lives!

By encouraging your friends and family to donate, you’ll be raising vital funds for premature and vulnerable babies on the RVI Neonatal Unit, and bringing a real sparkle to this dull January. You could event get the kids involved and make it a family activity!

Fancy the challenge?

Step 1 – Create a fundraising page. we recommend Just Giving or Enthuse. On both of these just click ‘Fundraise for Us’ to get started. 

Step 2 – Spread the word. Share the news of your amazing feat on social media, with friends and colleagues, with everyone! The more people who get access to your fundraising page, the more donations you may get. We’ve made a handy shareable graphic below, that you can use on Facebook to show that you’re part of #35forWard35. 

Step 3 – Get running! Whether you prefer to run indoors or outdoors, little and often, or long-distance, as long as you manage the 35 miles before 31st Jan, you’ll have completed something incredible! A tracking app such as Strava can be useful for keeping track of how far you’ve gone (and it integrates with Just Giving too – handy.).

That’s it! We’ll be behind you all of the way, so if you need anything during your challenge just email us – we’d love to see some pics too if you do choose to take part! 

Your support could make a huge difference to a family going through one of the toughest times of their life, and we will be so grateful. You can find out more about what we fund here, to help inspire you on those final miles!

Donate unwanted gifts this January and raise funds for Tiny Lives

If your home appears to have turned into a toy warehouse after Christmas, you can help! By having a clear out and donating your unwanted Christmas gifts, toys and teddy bears to Tiny Lives, you can help us to raise vital funds for the RVI Neonatal Unit, and to support more families in 2021.

We ask that anything donated be either new and in packaging, or as close to new as possible. These items will be used as prizes for various events across the year, such as tombolas, Summer Fayres, the Tiny Lives Ball and more. This will help Tiny Lives to raise as much money as possible!

We are especially interested in:

  • Cuddly toys
  • Children’s Books 
  • Figurines/dolls 
  • ‘Smelly’ gift sets (eg – bath products, handcreams. These must be brand new and unopened please.)
  • Chocolate/alcohol gift sets (Please check expiry dates where possible, the longer the better!)
  • Accessories (Jewellery/purses/Scarves etc. Unused and unworn please.)

We are unable to accept clothing for this appeal – thank you for understanding.

If you’d like to donate, or for more information, please email – thank you! 

GNR Solo January – Run Away from 2020!

Great Run have announced a January fundraising challenge to help put 2020 firmly behind us and start 2021 strong as you mean to go on.  The RUN AWAY FROM 2020 themed challenge starts TODAY (1st January) and finishes on 31st January, making it the perfect training partner if you’ve set yourself an active New Year’s Resolution.

The challenge is to complete 21 activities of any distance in January – it’s a challenge for all abilities that celebrates all activity.  Walk, jog, run, or do a mix of everything, it all counts! Complete 21 activities or more and your efforts will be rewarded with a snazzy 2-in-1 medal (it doubles up as a fridge magnet!).

To add extra motivation into the mix, the challenge includes an optional distance element. Depending how far you run over your 13 (or more) runs, you will be awarded with a bespoke digital finishers certificate to download and share:

  • Over the first hurdle – 35 Miles
  • Off to a flying start – 70 Miles
  • Firing on all cylinders – 125 Miles

The challenge is now open for entry and closes on Monday 11th January at 10.00am. Entry costs £15, which includes a finishers medal, access to training plans & tips, and access to an online run tracking tool.  Find out more and enter here:

Don’t forget to get your friends and family to sponsor you for taking on this challenge too! You can set up a fundraising page for Tiny Lives via Enthuse ot Just Giving

Happy Running! 

Survey Participants Wanted – neoWONDER

NeoWONDER brings together neonatologists, parents and patients, who are working to make sure that babies born premature lead healthy and fulfilling lives as they grow up into children and adults. Their aim is to improve the lifelong health and wellbeing of preterm babies by using routine data to evaluate the long-term impact of neonatal interventions.

They’re looking for parents of premature babies who are willing to complete a short survey. The research aims to obtain the views of patients and members of the public with experience of preterm birth about data-linkage (combining and using data about the baby’s health, education and other information, collected from a range of sources) and long-term outcomes for premature babies.

To take part in the survey, please click here.

For more information on the project, please see here.

Thank you! 

Tiny Lives Christmas Opening Hours

 Please see above for our Christmas opening hours for 2020.

At the moment, various members of the Tiny Lives team are working both from the office and from home, so the office may not always be staffed. If you’d like to pop along to see us during any of these times, we’d appreciate if you could call 0191 230 2112 or email so we can ensure there is someone around to greet you.

We’re so grateful to everyone who has supported us so kindly in 2020. We want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Team Tiny Lives 

Virtual Memorial Service to Remember our Babies – 2020

 The annual Remembrance Service to honour babies who have sadly passed away would usually be taking place this weekend. However, due to COVID-19, a virtual service has been recorded instead. You can watch this above, or via this link.

A huge thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make sure the service could still reach parents, in such unusual circumstances.

We’ll be lighting candles during our viewing, honouring all of the babies who have been sadly lost this year. Our hearts are with you all, even if we can’t be there in person. 

Follow these links to find out more about Support Groups and the Bereavement Support offered by Tiny Lives and the RVI Neonatal Unit. 

Trinity Square Christmas Light Switch On to spread Festive Cheer and Raise Funds for Tiny Lives


A Tyneside town centre Christmas light switch on is set to bring festive cheer to struggling retailers and premature and sick babies born into a COVID world.

The annual event at Trinity Square in Gateshead will take place virtually this year in the form of a YouTube premiere at 5 pm this Friday (27th November 2020).

The programme, which features locally based amateur and professional performers, includes The Blue Light Choir, made up of emergency services and key workers, female Samba band The Bangshees and Trinity’s talent show winner 13-year-old Hannah Binns. Trinity Square will also launch its own Christmas fairy-tale ‘How the Grinchy stole the button’ based around saving the Christmas light switch on.

Trinity Square’s retailers were invited to star in the Square’s parody of, “I Will Survive” to help them raise their profile and spirits enabling them to have some fun after such a challenging year.

Despite the harsh trading conditions, the Trinity Square businesses have also dug deep and donated raffle prizes and bought raffle tickets in support of Tiny Lives and the Neonatal Unit at the RVI in Newcastle. A dedicated JustGiving page set up by the shopping centre enabled the general public to show their support.

Trinity Square adopted Tiny Lives and the Neonatal Unit at the RVI as its nominated charity three years ago. Since then, it raised just over £7,000 through a variety of family fundraising events, raffles and auctions.

As all planned events had to be cancelled this year due to COVID, the virtual Christmas light switch on is the only chance for Trinity Square to boost that total. Fundraising launched just over a week ago, and it has already reached £2,000, and it’s hoped that once the show airs, people will be motivated to donate via Text Giving.

Tony Pickering, Centre Manager, Trinity Square, said: “The annual Christmas light switch on has become something of a tradition since we opened seven years ago. Each year the number of spectators grows, and it’s an event the local community look forward to all year round.

“We weren’t going to let COVID spoil our plans, so armed with a COVID safe approach, we turned our live show into an online spectacular. The show allows us to still able to bring some Christmas magic to our shoppers and visitors whilst keeping them safe. It was crucial to us in the planning for this year’s events that we could include as many of our retailers and businesses as we could. It was also a great opportunity to raise more money for Tiny Lives, especially as we know charities have not had the level of support, they usually get due to so many cancelled fundraising events.”

Louise Carroll, Community and Events Fundraiser at Tiny Lives, said: “The support we have received from Tony, Sharron and all the team at Trinity Square over the years is amazing. They are always thinking of new ways to continue their support to Tiny Lives; if they have any family activities going on in the square, they always try to involve Tiny Lives, which we are very grateful for. Especially this year with fundraising being hit hard by COVID 19, we are so appreciative to all our supporters who have managed to fundraise or donate to Tiny Lives. We are really looking forward to watching the Virtual Christmas Light Switch On and hopefully the Grinch gives the button back! Again, we are so grateful to Trinity Square, all their retailers and businesses for allowing Tiny Lives to be part of this special evening. All donations will help us to continue our support to the families, babies and staff on the Neonatal Unit at the RVI.”

The countdown and premiere of Trinity Square’s ‘Saving Our Christmas Light Switch On’ can be followed at:

Donations to Tiny Lives can be made via the Trinity Square Christmas Lights JustGiving page: or by texting ‘donate Tiny Lives 11’ to 88802.



Newcastle Building Society funding helps Tiny Lives to deliver updated Sibling Packs to Neonatal Unit


The Tiny Lives Trust is pleased to bring new, updated Sibling Packs to the RVI Neonatal Unit, thanks to kind funding from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

The packs, which were trialed on the Unit last year, are designed to help inform, comfort and entertain siblings when their new brother or sister needs to spend time on the Neonatal Unit. This can be a frightening and confusing time for children, so Tiny Lives wanted to ensure that they had this vital support.

The Sibling Packs are contained in handy drawstring Tiny Lives bags and contain: a short letter to the sibling, a ‘My Brother/Sister is a Preemie’ story book, a ‘My Sister/Brother Came Early’ colouring book, a small pack of crayons, Super Sibling stickers, a bespoke Creation Station craft box and 4 vinyl wall stickers. 

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund contributed a grant of £2958.00, towards 130 Sibling Packs. 

Tiny Lives partners with Institute of Health Visiting to fund new project to improve Neonatal training

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) and Tiny Lives Trust have worked in partnership with Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare to develop a new e-learning session for health visitors working with families to transition from neonatal units to home.

The e-learning session aims to raise awareness of the health visitor’s role in supporting sick and preterm babies. It is intended to complement existing e-Learning for Healthcare training programmes, which are referred to during the session.

The resource was coproduced in partnership with parents of babies who have been on neonatal units.

Kelly Blakeney, Head of the Tiny Lives Trust, said:

“The Tiny Lives Trust helps to ensure the best possible outcomes for neonatal babies and their families throughout the neonatal journey, recognising that having a premature or sick baby can be one of the most difficult and life-changing challenges a family experiences. We are therefore delighted to have funded the new ‘Surviving to Thriving’ project in partnership with The Institute of Health Visiting and Health Education England.

We are especially proud to have been directly involved in developing the e-learning package for Health Visitors interested in becoming a Neonatal Families Ambassador. This package aims to raise awareness with professionals about prematurity and neonatal care, the impact this may have on the longer-term development of the baby and best practice in working with neonatal parents; all of which will contribute to a positive experience for both neonatal families and Health Visitors alike.

We also want to say a huge thank you to the Tiny Lives families who shared their Health Visitor experiences to help facilitate the development of this new package; this real-life feedback really is invaluable in improving care for future neonatal families.”

For more information about the resources, including access details, please visit the e-LfH website.

Additionally, Tiny Lives commissioned the iHV to host two training sessions with 28 health visitors representing all the NE local authority areas. These health visitors will now access the above e-Learning package, and be considered ‘Neonatal Ambassadors’ in their area. 

Win a CAR with Tiny Lives and the Great Northern Raffle


Thank you so much to everyone who supported Tiny Lives by entering  The Great Northern Raffle in October! The event is back for November and December, with the chance to win a car worth £17,000! 

The lucky winner will drive off in a 70 Reg Hyundai i10, kindly donated by Bristol Street Motors.

Entry is free, but you can add a voluntary donation. By choosing to donate, you will be supporting Tiny Lives to help vulnerable families and babies on the Neonatal Unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, and making a huge difference! Just text TINY to 70215 to find out more* (normal network charges apply!). 

Atom Bank have also kindly donated a host of other prizes, including: 

  1. Live Theatre – “Best Friends” Membership
  2. House of Tides – £250 Gift Voucher
  3. By The River Co. – £250 Gift Voucher
  4. Sage – Level 3 Membership
  5. Theatre Royal – Joint Membership
  6. Tyneside Cinema – Joint Membership

Entries for the November and December draw are open NOW and close on Thursday 31st December. The winner will be drawn on Monday 18th January 2021.

Good luck! 

* Texts cost one standard rate message and you will be opting in to receive updates inc. marketing relating to the Great Northern Raffle via SMS