We spoke with PEEPs, who are the only UK charity dedicated to those affected by HIE (hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy). In simple terms, HIE is a lack of oxygen/blood flow to the brain before, during or after labour which can cause injury to the baby. It happens in around 3-4 in every 1000 births and can have varying outcomes for the baby.

PEEPs provide support to anyone what has been affected by HIE and aim to raise awareness of the condition. Some of the ways in which they help is; by providing parent packs for families at the start of their HIE journey in neonatal intensive care, offering peer support, providing access to specialised counselling and funding equipment.

COVID 19 has had a huge impact on the families that PEEPs support. Many families are shielding children who fall into the “vulnerable” category and others are facing an uncertain future on the neonatal intensive care unit, and are without access to their usual support networks. PEEPs provide a lifeline for these families and it has been vital for them to adapt to continue to offer as much help and support as they can.

How have PEEPs adapted their services?

PEEPs have been sending “Little Packs of Calm” to let families know that they are thinking of them and that they are there for them during this crisis. They have been holding online coffee mornings and have a WhatsApp parent group so that parents can chat to each other and not feel so alone. Thanks to a kind donation from Baukjen, PEEPs have also been able to send reusable face masks to families free of charge.

How is COVID-19 affecting PEEPs financially?

As with many other charities, fundraising is a challenge. Many of the events PEEPs had planned, such as the Manchester Run, are of course no longer taking place and they are feeling the pressure to find alternative means of funding so that they can continue to offer their services.

PEEPs are extremely grateful to those who have continued to support them during this difficult time by donating, sharing posts, volunteering their time and raising awareness. They really couldn’t do it without the support of the general public.

For more details on how to donate, get involved with PEEPs or if you have been affected by HIE and would like support, please visit www.peeps-hie.org or get in touch via email info@peeps-hie.org or on social media @PeepsHIE .


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