County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust places cookies on your computer to improve our website. These cookies don't collect information that identifies a visitor and are all anonymous.� They are used to measure its performance and to provide enhancements to you while using the site. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our privacy policy. Close
High Contrast Sitemap


Leo and VCreate

THIS DECEMBER, a very special and heart-warming initiative is coming to the neonatal units at the University Hospital of North Durham, and Darlington Memorial Hospital.

  Leo's and vCreate have teamed up to provide secure video diaries to parents of premature and sick babies for free.    

Leo and VCreate

The vCreate App will let nursing staff in the neonatal units record video updates of baby for mum and dad to access from their phones at times when they aren't able to be in the unit.   

When the baby is discharged from the neonatal unit, parents can download all video clips of their baby and keep them forever.

  Lottie King, Founder of Leo's, a charity that supports parents throughout their neonatal journey and post-discharge, explains why the service is being made available.   

"Parents whose baby needs to spend time in a neonatal unit experience a rollercoaster of emotions and unfortunately anxiety and PTSD are frequent. By making this new service available, we will be reaching parents at a critical time, they may be at their lowest point, but receiving video updates from the unit, will be like providing a virtual hug to help them carry on. 

"So far the service is in the neonatal unit at the James Cook University Hospital and Zoe's Place Baby Hospice courtesy of Leo's and we are so proud to be able to offer this to the neonatal units here." 

The service, which costs £15,000 a year to run and will help more than 1,300 families is being funded by doting dad, Thomas Robinson. Thomas, who is Director of Infinity Digital, based in Skelton, has taken on the mammoth task to ensure families across the region, with the help of Leo's, are supported via this initiative.   

Thomas, who has been affected by premature birth, following the admission of his daughter, Penelope, to the Neonatal Unit at The James Cook University Hospital, wanted to give back to the charity which helped his family during their neonatal stay, and continues to support them in the community. 

Thomas said: "Once we heard about Leo's plans to introduce the vCreate system, we knew we had to be involved!" 

"I know first-hand how hard it is to go home at night and leave your child. I spent many sleepless nights worrying about how she was, if she was feeding well, if there were any concerns, I wasn't aware of... Most of all I just missed her beautiful face! If there was something like vCreate in place, I know it would have made what was without doubt the toughest time of our lives, a lot more bearable!" 

Ben Moore, Founder of vCreate, says, "We worked with Leo's to support families during Neonatal Mental Health Awareness Week, and realised that we both have a shared passion for supporting families going through the trauma of having a child who is born too soon or too sick.   

"The cost this has on parents' mental health is huge. By reaching parents early in their neonatal journey and sending them cute videos that help ease the pain, we are getting one step closer to ensuring fewer parents get diagnosed with anxiety and debilitating PTSD." 

The service will be available for free to units and free for parents, who will be able to sign up for the vCreate App as soon as they arrive in the neonatal unit or, whenever possible. 

To find out more about Leo's, head to or follow the charity on social media @leosneonatal.


Published 9th December


'I would like to thank all the staff for my treatment and their professionalism.'

Patient, Cardiology Department, Bishop Auckland Hospital