PARENTS at Basingstoke hospital are benefiting from packs of premature baby clothes.

At what can be a difficult and worrying time for some parents, Tesco has donated packs of F&F Premature Baby Essentials to the hospital’s neonatal unit.

Each pack contains sleepsuits, bodysuits, hats and scratch mitts. The Salvation Army is partnering with Tesco to help deliver the clothing.

Jan Marchant, managing director for Tesco’s Home & Clothing, said: “Premature babies are often unexpected and it can be difficult to find clothing items to fit at such short notice.

Basingstoke Gazette: parents of premmature babies will benefit from the donation of clothes

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"We want to provide practical help to mums and dads at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital during a stressful time and help give the babies a stronger start in life.”

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, on average seven to 10 per cent of babies born in England and Wales are born prematurely. With 23,000 packs of F&F Premature Baby Essentials being given to 157 neonatal units across the country, this means that half of premature babies will receive some of the F&F essentials.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, added: “Having a baby born prematurely can be a really worrying time for so many, and with our hard-working staff across the country continuing to do all they can to provide care and support to premature babies and their families, it is fantastic that Tesco is donating specialist baby clothing to every NHS neonatal unit across England to provide additional help.

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“These clothing packs could make a huge difference to tens of thousands of babies and their families who need it most over the next year, and we are extremely grateful to Tesco, and to the Salvation Army, for making this possible.”

Claire De Silva, Tesco head of communities, said the Stronger Starts programme supports children to get the best possible start in life.