1592. Lottie King
Lottie King, from Teesside, founded ‘Leo’s Neonatal’ in 2015 after the tragic loss of one of her twins, Leo, born at 24 weeks, to support other families with premature babies in neonatal units.
The charity aims to provide additional care to families that complements services provided through the NHS, working closely with neonatal units in the North East at Sunderland Royal Hospital, The University Hospital of North Durham, The James Cook University Hospital and Darlington Memorial. During the pandemic, with restrictions limiting visiting hours in hospital for parents as well as the in-person peer support available for neonatal families, the team at Leo’s have been offering telephone support and launched a new ‘The Nurture Project’ to offer therapeutic trauma support in a virtual or socially-distanced way. Backed with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, ‘The Nurture Project’ has so far supported over 70 families across the North East with activities such as socially distanced or virtual neonatal yoga, occupational therapy, trauma therapy, solo play sessions, and hydrotherapy swimming.
In a personal letter to Lottie, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Thank you for all that you do through ‘Leo’s Neonatal’ for families whose babies are in neonatal care. One of the greatest challenges of the last year has been the isolation felt by many and so your telephone support service for parents is more important than ever.
“I am also lost in admiration for the array of practical and emotional support your ‘Nurture Project’ has given families across the North East, from hydrotherapy sessions to sign language classes and even virtual neonatal yoga.
“The work that you do helps so many and is a wonderful tribute to Leo.”
Matt Vickers, Lottie’s local MP for Stockton South, said:
“Congratulations Lottie on becoming the 1592nd Point of Light awarded by the Prime Minister. You should be incredibly proud of all that you do. It is awe inspiring to see a charity that does such good come about after such a tragic event. Your selflessness and dedication to support other families with premature babies in neonatal units, and the launch of the Nurture Project is a great credit to you. I am incredibly proud of your achievements, as I know everyone around you is.”
“It is such an honour and a privilege to have been recognised by the Prime Minister and his Points of Light Awards. My team here at Leo’s have worked so exceptionally hard during the COVID-19 pandemic making ‘The Nurture Project’ an incredibly diverse and wonderful project which has made a difference to the lives of so many neonatal families in the North East. This award is an amazing legacy for my little boy Leo, who without him, and his brothers Dax and Oska, we wouldn’t be doing the work we do today. Thank you so so much.”
Pictured below: families taking part in Lottie’s ‘The Nurture Project’