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Kate thinks big for Project Parent

Project Parent founder and ME sufferer Kate Stanforth (21) knows only too well how distressing lengthy hospital stays can be.

And after identifying that there was a gap in organisations offering support to mums and dads with youngsters in hospital, she launched Project Parent at the end of last year, just in time for Christmas.

Over 30 goody bags to raise spirits, full of toiletries and a few treats, were distributed to parents on children’s wards at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Now, after a lengthy application process, the 21-year-old has secured enough funds through O2’s ‘Think Big’ initiative, to help roll out the project to four other hospitals in the UK.

“I was given an initial £300 from O2 to give it a try and the gift packs were so well received at the RVI that I really wanted to try it elsewhere,” said Kate.

‘Think Big’ is aimed at giving young people with big ideas a chance to get them off the ground.

Following an application process, which included telephone interviews and training via Skype, Kate secured the second round of funding last month.

She is now recruiting a network of volunteers to help deliver the bags at hospitals in Leeds, Manchester, Bristol and London.

“I’ve launched a Project Parent page on Facebook and all of the volunteers have been recruited through there really,” said Kate, who is sitting A-level exams in business studies and graphics this summer after studying at Newcastle College.

“I had a relapse with my ME in September, so it’s been a great way to connect with people while I can’t get out as much as I’d like.”

Now, despite attending weekly rehabilitation sessions at hospital herself, she is juggling her studies with running the project, and applying for a business management degree at Northumbria University.

And although the grant will ensure Project Parent can continue to run for the next 12 months, Kate is already working on fund-raising ideas to ensure it can continue into the future.

With support from her boyfriend, Andrew Moncaster, of Appleby, who will be pushing her in her wheelchair, Kate will be doing this year’s Great North Run to raise funds.


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