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Vikki is notoriously a crafty person and is a skilled hobbyist in so many things, one of the main hobbies Vikki has is crocheting. She has been supporting the Charity Octopus for a Preemie UK for around a year and uses her skills in crocheting as a way to help provide support to the charity.

“I’ve been crocheting as a hobby for a long time and was introduced to the Charity through a friend, as a way that I could use this skill to benefit others and provide comfort in challenging circumstances.”

Each Octopus is specially created to help premature babies feel safer and offer them something to hold and play with instead of the life-saving tubes that they will be needing in their incubators. Each of the octopuses is made by volunteers who go through training to make sure that every donation is safe and can provide these babies with the support they need as they continue to get stronger.

Who are “Octopus for a Preemie UK?”

We all know how dangerous a preterm birth is for babies. The weight of most of them is around 500g (that’s half a bag of sugar) and it means that their systems are not fully developed.

Feeling the closeness of parents has a significant effect on their baby’s recovery and growth, however, parents are not able to hold their children close to their body all the time. When a baby arrives unexpectedly early, the parent’s world comes to a stop to allow them to focus on the little one. There are so many things to sort out that are important and part of everyday life. It is full-on, and parents need a break too; a short break to catch their breath and to have a little rest so they can carry on looking after their little bundle.

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Here is where the octopuses come in very handy – these little octopuses make babies, and their parents, feel calmer and safer. The babies play with their tentacles as if it is their mother’s umbilical cord. At the same time, parents can have a deserved little break, knowing their tiny precious ones feel safer and calmer with the tentacles in their little hands instead of pulling those life-saving tubes and cables out.

This charity project first started in Denmark and then extended to around 34 countries currently, including Poland, Spain, USA, Canada, Australia, and lots of Europe. They are a registered UK charity – Octopus for a Preemie (1180950) and recently celebrated their 6th birthday.

The charity supplies approximately 140 units every month within the UK with around 3000 octopus (numbers can vary as units are busy or quiet and so deliveries are adapted). There are around 300 regular makers every month and more joining every day, and hopefully, there will be more makers in future once they are trained to the strict rules of safety of every octopus, to ensure every Octo is of the highest standard.

Volunteers also make Angel packs on request and some units ask for these on a regular basis for their bereavement suites. Any Octopus’ that are too big for preemies or Angel packs go to dementia patients in care homes or hospital units.

For anyone wanting to get involved in making Octos, there are monthly Knit-a-long (KAL) and Crochet-a-longs (CAL) where you can learn how to make these wonderful little friends. Find out more on the website or via their Facebook Group.

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