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Kate hands over 2014 boxes

The first set of gift boxes were handed over to nurses at the GNCH in Newcastle by Kate Stanforth. This capped a year of hard work for Kate, who founded Project Parent early in 2014.

“I was volunteering with Josie’s Dragonfly Trust, who deliver craft and activity boxes to children who are in hospital, when I realised there’s nothing really for parents,” said Kate, who was diagnosed with ME over six years ago and spends a lot of time in hospitals herself.

“I know from my own experience how hard time in hospital can be so I applied for some funding to get things started.”

Through a friend who works for O2, Kate heard about their “Think Big” initiative which gives young people with big ideas a chance to get them off the ground.

She was immediately awarded funding of £300 for her Project Parent scheme and set about creating her first 30 gift packs full of essentials for a hospital stay.

From clean socks and toiletries to treats like Christmas tree decorations and chocolate, Kate was helped by a number of friends to deliver the packs to children’s wards at Newcastle’s RVI during the week before Christmas.

With help from family, Kate has also held table top sales using donations of unwanted Christmas gifts and is applying for a further £2,500 funding from O2 to continue her work.

“I hope to be able to deliver parent packs to hospitals at regular intervals,” said Kate, who is working to complete her A-levels at Newcastle College and has hopes, if her health allows, of starting a university course next year.

Kate, who also teaches ballet in her spare time, explained: “It would be great if eventually we could expand it to cover other hospitals in the UK.”