Research suggests that peer support delivered by those with lived experience can help people feel happier, less isolated, and empowered. It can have a positive impact on long term mental health and wellbeing. It encourages people to share their thoughts and feelings and enables them to form relationships with those who have shared a similar experience

Neonatal Peer support

Delivered by peer supporters with lived experience of neonatal care

Peer support can make a huge difference to families who spend time in neonatal care.

Having someone to talk to can relieve stress and feelings of isolation for both mum and dad. It gives you the opportunity to talk openly about your emotions and your worries and can help you validate your feelings. Knowing that someone has felt exactly the same as you do right now can really help. Sometimes parents with a baby on the neonatal unit may feel that their friends and families don’t fully understand their fears and worries, or the challenges of having a sick or premature baby in hospital, and they probably don’t – with the best will in the world, how could they?

You may not want too many people to visit your baby on the neonatal unit. You may be worried about the risk of your baby catching a cold or infection. You may be tired of having to explain the same thing to everyone that visits. The neonatal unit can feel like your bubble, and sometimes it isn’t easy to let other people into your bubble.

Peer Support

Our peer supporters have had their own neonatal journey. They are there to help and support you when they can. It can feel lonely on the neonatal unit and our peer support volunteers will sit with you by your baby’s cot side for a chat, or in the family sitting room. They can also support you to access help from other organisations.


Our neonatal peer support is available at North Manchester General Hospital, Royal Bolton Hospital, Royal Oldham Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital, Stepping Hill Hospital and Wythenshawe hospital

We have a team of dedicated peer support volunteers who are available on the neonatal unit throughout the week.

You will find details of this is the family sitting room, on the Facebook page or by speaking to your baby’s nurse.

All our volunteers have enhanced DBS checks, safeguarding training and full peer support training.

Find out how you can become a Spoons Peer Support Volunteer

If you live outside of the Greater Manchester area and are looking for peer support speak to a member of staff on your neonatal unit who may be able to point you in the right direction.

It may also be helpful to visit the website for the Neonatal Network in your area:

East Midlands

East of England

North West



South East

South West


West Midlands

Yorkshire & Humber