It is not just the weather that has been hotting up at Best Beginnings. It has been an incredibly busy few weeks at the charity even by our standards; my small but dedicated team of six people and I have worked tirelessly to move offices, host two conferences, send out more than 64,000 Small Wonders DVDs to 116 neonatal units around the UK, support the in-depth embedding and evaluation of Small Wonders in three neonatal units, support our 400+ Champions, prepare for the official launch of Small Wonders happening in England on June 19th and progress our transition to parenthood apps project.

What follows below are some highlights of the last few weeks
We’ve been getting lovely feedback on the final Small Wonders DVD from across the UK. For example, Robin Harrower from Southend University Hospital NHS Trust wrote: “I would like to thank you for providing such a valuable tool to assist in supporting the parents of premature and sick infants. I have just watched the DVD in its entirety prior to its roll out next month. It not only informed my practice as a neonatal nurse, but I feel strongly that it will inform parents of their babies’ journey. I applaud the effort that went into making this DVD in such detail and explaining medical terminology in such an understanding manner. I wholeheartedly believe this will be an invaluable tool for me and my colleagues to use in supporting parents of premature and sick babies. Thank you.”

I want to thank Robin and everyone for their fabulous feedback. It means a lot to me and my team to get such positive feedback and makes the many nights working to beyond midnight worthwhile. For more details about the Small Wonders DVD and National Change Programme click About Small Wonders.

Pre-launch events
In March we hosted two pre-launch events for our Small Wonders Champions; one in Manchester and one in London. At our London event we had 96 healthcare professionals representing more than 45 neonatal units across the UK. Many thanks to our film interns, Marta and Flora, for filming and editing all the talks and discusions on the pre-launch days and also for editing highlight films. I'll post these films in my next blog, when they are finished. Below is the film of my introduction talk about Best Beginnings and Small Wonders that I gave on the London pre-launch day to set the scene for the highly interactive day.

My lecturing schedule
I’ve been busy giving lectures across the UK to inform, engage and motivate Small Wonders Champions to be “catalysts for change” in their hospitals. For example, in the last few weeks I’ve spoken at two Bliss Family-Centered Care study days, to 150 midwives at the RCM Bereavement Conference, 140 neonatal nurses at the Scottish Neonatal Nurses Group Annual Conference and 140 Speech and Language Therapists at the Paediatric Dysphagia Special Interest Group meeting. I’ve greatly enjoyed the opportunity to share the background to and plans for the Small Wonders National Change Programme and to talk to delegates over coffee and lunch breaks. Many thanks to those of you who’ve sent me messages after my talks @AlisonBaum using the #smallwondersdvd and #smallwonderschampions hashtags

The Power of Collaboration
A special thank you to all the medical Royal Colleges for their help and support. In the last two weeks I’ve met with the Presidents of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. I’m delighted that all three Presidents will be speaking at the Small Wonders launch event on June 19th. It has also been a real pleasure to work with the RCM Board Heads for Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales, thank you for your support and help.

Huge thanks to our Small Wonders families
It has been great catching-up on the phone with some of the 14 wonderful families who let our cameras into their lives for a year in the making of Small Wonders. Your courage and openness will help tens of thousands of parents for years to come. I look forward to seeing many of you on June 19th.

Plans for Scotland
In England 162 of the 175 hospitals have Small Wonders Champions. In Scotland we don’t, as yet, have the same ratio of units with Champions, but we are working collaboratively to change this. Here you’ll see me with Iona Philips one of the three Neonatal Clinical Networks in Scotland. Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government, we are working together to host an event on June 28th in Scotland to spport the roll-out of the Change Programme across Scotland.

Helping us continue our work
We are a small charity committed to making a real and lasting ifference to child health across the UK. If you’d like to volunteer for Best Beginnings we’d love to hear from you. Equally if you’d like to help raise vital funds we’d be thrilled. The Asics British 10k London Run is fast approaching and as always we have a team taking part. If you'd like to get involved and help us give UK babies the healthiest start, please email [email protected]. Every year we have a lot of fun, meeting before and after the event at the lovely Royal Horseguards hotel where all our runners get breakfast and lunch. We thank Royal Horseguards for their continued support. 

Here is a message from one of our regular runners, the wonderful David Grossbard. It would be great if you'd like to join David and the rest of Team Best Beginnings this year and/or choose to sponsor them.

If running isn't your thing, there are many Ways to give, Leave a Lasting Legacy and Give your time

Good news
I’ve just found out that our online interactive Accounts & annual reports have been shortlisted for the ICAEW Charities Online Financial Reporting Awards. Many thanks to Jinne and Andrew for your fantastic pro-bono support in creating our interactive online accounts. Fingers-Crossed for June 28th!

That's all for this blogpost but I look forward to updating you soon. In the meantime you can follow me on Twitter @alisonbaum

Very best wishes
Alison Baum