The last few weeks have been incredibly busy here at Best Beginnings and I would love to share some of the recent highlights as well as upcoming ones with you.

We are very proud of Best Beginnings’ and Bliss’ collaboration to support family-centred care in neonatal units across the UK. The charities are working with the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle-upon-Tyne to distribute stickers and record charts to promote the uptake of skin-to-skin contact (Kangaroo care) between a baby and its parents. Claire Campbell, a nurse at RVI, came up with the simple, cost effective and highly visual idea of using stickers on a weekly chart to keep track of which babies had been having skin to skin. The initiative has been a real success with parents and staff on her unit. Claire is now working with Bliss and Best Beginnings to make the stickers and record sheets available to all neonatal units in the UK for free in April 2013.

Best Beginnings is also joining a national special interest group for necrotising enterocolitis (NEC)
which has been organised by Minesh Khashu, a consultant neonatologist from Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The group aims to improve collaboration on research, improvements in practice and better communication with parents and families. Best Beginnings first met with the group on the 8th of March at the Best Beginnings offices in London with representatives from Bliss and UNICEF.

In addition to this, my team and I have been busy attending a series of key conferences and meetings to raise the profile of the charity and spread the word about our projects and programmes of work. This included me giving speaking at the Maternity, Mother & Baby Forum & Exhibition in Birmingham, the Surrey and Sussex Breastfeeding conference and presenting to the Cabinet Office Social Investment Finance team as a Nexters charity.

On the events front, we have a couple of great events coming up that I would love you to get involved in if you can:

Neonatal nurse, Christine Niccolls, our Small Wonders lead in Liverpool, and the Parent Champions at Liverpool Women’s Hospital are kindly organising a special event on May 5 to raise money for both Best Beginnings and the Liverpool Neonatal Unit. This black tie event at the Liverpool Hilton Hotel in the Liverpool One retail and leisure complex, will start at 7pm. The entertainment for the evening will include singers, Amelia O'Connell and Cassana Rason, as well as bands, Man Get Out and Audio Zero. There will be a luxury auction and raffle with prizes including signed Everton and Man United shirts, a signed Liverpool football and tickets, spa days etc. Radio City presenter, Simon Greening is hosting the event. Tickets start at £16 and are available from Parents’ Champion, Karen Gorry at [email protected] .

As in previous years, we again have a number of charity running places for the British London 10k run on Sunday 14th July. If you would like to take this great opportunity to get fit and help make a difference to the lives of babies in the UK?, please do join Team Best Beginnings! TV presenter and athlete Charlie Webster will lead the Best Beginnings team and we have lots of treats laid on for our runners including changing facilities, breakfast and lunch at the Royal Horseguards Hotel. For more information please contact [email protected].

In further charity news, we are delighted to announce that international executive search firm, Sheffield Haworth, has selected Best Beginnings as one of its two charities for a second year running. Their London employees will raise funds for both charities throughout the year.  They are also encouraged to volunteer for two days a year, so we are hoping to make use of their time and talents.  If you are interested in nominating Best Beginnings as your charity of the year, please contact [email protected].

To conclude, as I am sure you agree these are exciting times for Best Beginnings but as always we rely on the help of our grass-roots supporters such as yourself to keep us going and enable us to build on the success of our work so far. If you’d like to make a donation, please click here to donate and help us give even more babies the ‘best beginning’.

Last but not least, don’t forget to follow the charity on Facebook or Twitter. And if you want to know what I'm doing, you can follow me @AlisonBaum.

Finally I'd like to wish everyone all the best for the coming months and I look forward to updating you again soon.

Very best wishes,