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Last modified: 22 Dec 2021 10:33am

Smiling white haired woman sitting in a wicker chair holding a collection of brightly coloured fabric hearts

A Leeston crafter has teamed up with Selwyn Libraries and the Canterbury District Health Board to give a helping heart to some of our newest Cantabrians.

Lisa Paget is on a mission to collect fabric cuddle hearts for mothers and premature babies in Christchurch Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after seeing the impact they had for her premature twin nieces born in Queensland earlier this year.

Cuddle Hearts are small cotton fabric hearts shared between mothers and babies in incubators, who cannot be held or breastfed.

Worn on the skin they pick up a parent or child’s scent and have been shown to have significant benefits for parents and children – something Lisa saw first-hand.

“I will never forget watching my niece actually reach out for the Cuddle Heart when it was placed beside her in the incubator.”

Coincidentally, the NICU team at Christchurch Women’s Hospital had begun exploring the emerging evidence of how Cuddle Hearts could help families in their unit.

A keen crafter, Lisa teamed up with Selwyn Libraries to offer people the chance to make the hearts and donate them via drop off boxes, available at all Selwyn Libraries. Lisa and helpers will then sanitise the hearts and deliver to Christchurch Hospital as they are needed.

Nicki Moen, Selwyn District Council Manager Arts, Culture and Lifelong Learning says libraries staff were delighted by the opportunity to be involved in such a good cause. “Our libraries host a lot of craft makers including Lisa and her sewing group. This ticked all the boxes for us as a way to support some generous library members, help out mums and babies in a tough time and give our crafters another great cause to get sewing for.”

If you’d like to help – you can download a pattern for the hearts and drop off the hearts at any Selwyn library.

Please only use 100 percent cotton or 100 percent cotton winceyette fabric for the hearts.