A project inspired by the American ‘Peanuts’ comic strip featuring blanket-loving Linus van Pelt, Snoopy and Charlie Brown, is giving comfort to youngsters on the Children’s Ward and Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at Furness General Hospital in Barrow.
‘Project Linus’ includes a group of caring women from the Barrow-in-Furness and South Lakeland areas who make beautiful quilts for children while they are in hospital. The quilts are given to the children and then offered to families to take home when the children have left hospital. In the last two years, the quilters have made 110 quilts for the Children’s Ward and 90 for SCBU at Barrow.
The quilters are part of Project Linus UK, a volunteer organisation which aims to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new home made patchwork quilts and knitted blankets.
Project Linus began in America in 1995 when Karen Loucks saw a newspaper article showing how much a comfort blanket had helped a young cancer victim. She decided to organise blankets for her local children’s cancer unit and started spreading the word. The name was taken from the Peanuts comic strip and the late creator, Charles Schultz, gave permission for the name ‘Linus’ to be used.
Jean Hoskins, Barrow and South Lakes Area Coordinator for Project Linus, recently delivered the quilts to Children’s Ward Manager, Kerry Little.
Jean said: “Here in Barrow and South Lakeland we have a number of ladies - too many to mention by name - and groups who contribute their work to Project Linus.
“Without their continued support, we would not be able to give the quilts and blankets to various organisations caring for children. The largest recipients are the Children’s Ward at Furness General Hospital and SCBU.
“Over the time I have been co-ordinator, I have been able to expand the number of outlets to which the quilts and blankets have been given. The mantra remains the same: ‘All children from birth to 19 who are sick, disabled, disadvantaged or traumatised are eligible to be given a ‘hug in a quilt’ or a blanket.’
“We all know this year has been difficult but the Barrow and South Lakeland Project Linus has donated more than 170 items to Furness General Hospital.”
Rosie Johnson, Clinical Lead on the Children’s Ward at FGH, said: “We are always extremely grateful to Project Linus for providing us with the beautiful quilts for children to receive while they are on the ward and also to take home. The quilts bring such a lot of comfort to them as well.”
Bay Hospitals Charity, the charity of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), was delighted to help facilitate the donation of the quilts to the Children’s Ward and SCBU.
Heidi Bowron, Membership and Charity Engagement Coordinator for Bay Hospitals Charity at FGH, said: “We are so touched that the ladies from Project Linus have created these charming quilts for children who come for treatment at our hospital in Barrow.
“The care and hours of work that have gone into these exquisite hand-made quilts are hugely appreciated by all of us at the Trust and the families. It’s lovely to see the children receiving the quilts and finding comfort in them during their time in hospital. It’s also very special that each child can take their quilt home with them to keep at the end of their stay. We’d all like to say a massive ‘thank you’ to the quilters for their time dedication and kindness!”
Photo caption: Kerry Little, Children’s Ward Manager at FGH, Ward Sister Claire Clegg and Nurse Danielle Reynolds with some of the Project Linus quilts at Furness General Hospital