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Baby Bonnet donation, group cheering


We donate hundreds of baby bonnets

To mark World Prematurity Day we’ve donated hundreds of knitted baby bonnets for premature babies to NHS Neonatal units across the UK.

Earlier this year we challenged our colleagues, the people we support and fans from the wider rugby league community to get crafty and create Rugby League World Cup 2021 themed baby bonnets. This project has been led by volunteers participating in our ground-breaking inclusive volunteering partnership with the Rugby League World Cup 2021, which enables people who have care and support needs to take part in exciting and fulfilling volunteering projects.


Baby Bonnet donation, group of colleagues and people we support

Jodie Cunningham, St. Helens R.F.C & England Rugby League star and Rugby League World Cup 2021 Women’s Ambassador, was joined by a team of our Inclusive Volunteers to present the donation to Catherine McClennan, Programme Director for the NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Women’s Health and Maternity Services.

In the UK, one in 13 babies are born preterm, affecting 60,000 families every year. Often when babies are born prematurely, parents are not fully prepared for their arrival. By providing these knitted donations, we hope they will support many families across the country at the most challenging moments of their lives.


John Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities says, “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support this project has received from our colleagues, our inclusive volunteers and knitters across the UK. The response has been truly phenomenal, and we’ve been touched by the number of personal messages and thoughtful notes accompanying the bonnets.”

He continued, “Rugby league is a game known for its passion for helping others and looking after your local community – this is a fantastic example of this, showing how fans of this great game want to give back to causes that really matter. We’re truly delighted that we’re able to gift these bonnets to many NHS specialist services across the region, which will hopefully be a helping hand to many families in their time of need.”

Catherine McClennan, from NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Women’s Health and Maternity Service’s Programme says, “It was an honour and special privilege to meet some of the volunteers behind this project today. What the volunteers are doing for local services in their communities is truly incredible. These baby bonnets highlight the power of community spirit and what can be achieved when we all work together.”

She continued, “We’re really thankful for Community Integrated Care and the Rugby League World Cup 2021 for launching this inspirational project and we’re excited about our growing partnership with the charity. We look forward to working closely on more projects that support local women and families.”

“These bonnets will be delivered to neonatal units within our local maternity hospitals across our region. The difference that these will make to families is going to be huge, and will it allow them to be part of something really special at a time when they need it most.”

Jodie Cunningham says, “The volunteers have been remarkable, making an impact in their local communities and on a national scale through their involvement in the Rugby League World Cup 2021 Inclusive Volunteering Programme.”

She continued, “You can see from projects such as this knitting initiative just how much our volunteers enjoy having the opportunity to find new interests and develop their skills and confidence.”

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