The young people chose the ‘Orange Hat Appeal’, part of the ‘Keeping mothers and babies together’ initiative, as the youth council’s summer term social action project, and made over 20 hats for vulnerable babies at the hospital.
The bright orange hats enable the medical and midwifery teams to easily identify the babies that need extra support and monitoring in the first 12 hours of their lives. They can then make more frequent observations, such as blood sugar tests and temperature checks, and provide extra support to establish feeding patterns so that the babies don’t have to be admitted to the separate neonatal unit and mothers and babies can stay together.
Over the summer term, members of the Hertsmere Youth Council, supported by Services for Young People youth workers, learnt how to crotchet or knit and used their new skills to make the little orange hats for the appeal. On 6 July they visited the maternity unit to present the hats to the hospital staff. During the visit Matron Marianne Renkin took time out of her busy work schedule to explain the work of the maternity unit and the importance of the hats, and to answer the young people’s questions about the appeal.
The young people all got a real sense of achievement from helping a worthwhile cause and a greater understanding of how doing something seemingly small can make a big difference. They said:
“It was great to see how happy they were to receive the hats!”
“I’m going to continue to make orange hats and send them to the maternity unit.”
“I can’t believe how many midwives came out to say thank you, that was really cool”
Matron Marianne Renkin said a big thank you to the young people and expressed how important the hats are and how much they appreciated the donation.
Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, Cllr Fiona Thomson, said:
“I would like to personally thank the Hertsmere Youth Council for this wonderful project. Joining a Services for Young People youth council or forum is a fantastic way for young people to get more involved in their local community. As well as making a real difference to others, they develop so many different skills and have life-enriching experiences that inspire them to do more.”
Following the visit, the Hertsmere Youth Council will be putting a box in the Borehamwood Young People’s Centre for other young people to drop off their crocheted/ knitted orange hats so that they can continue supporting the appeal.
Services for Young People runs youth councils in all areas of Hertfordshire, supporting young people to make a difference in their local communities. Find out more and how young people can get involved here: Services for Young People youth councils and youth forums.