PACKS of clothing for premature babies are being supplied to Airedale Hospital through a new partnership.

Supermarket giant Tesco is donating items, including sleep and body suits, hats and mitts, to the neonatal unit.

Help with distributing the clothing is being provided by the Salvation Army.

The initiative is part of a wider scheme, which has seen Tesco provide packs to more than 150 neonatal departments across the country.

Jan Marchant, of Tesco Home & Clothing, says: "Premature babies are often unexpected and it can be difficult to find clothing items to fit at such short notice.

"We want to provide practical support to mums and dads at Airedale Hospital during a stressful time and help give the babies a stronger start in life."

Amanda Pritchard, for the NHS, welcomes the support.

She says: "Having a baby born prematurely can be a really worrying time for many. With our hard-working staff across the country continuing to do all they can to provide care and support to premature babies and their families, it is fantastic that Tesco is donating specialist baby clothing to neonatal units to provide additional help.

"These clothing packs could make a huge difference to thousands of babies and their families who need it most over the next year, and we are extremely grateful to Tesco – and to the Salvation Army – for making this possible."

Kirk Bradley, head of corporate partnerships with the Salvation Army, says: "We are happy to be supporting Tesco to deliver these much-needed items of clothing, which are saving young lives.

"Providing this support means the Salvation Army can continue to give practical help for people in need. These generous donations provide comfort for the most vulnerable and offer families essentials in their time of need."

The venture is the latest in a series of Tesco projects to support children and families.

Last summer, the firm launched a £5 million grants programme – Stronger Starts – in partnership with Groundwork UK, to help schools and children's groups provide nutritious food and healthy activities.

And at Christmas, toys were collected through stores to support struggling families.

Tesco head of communities, Claire De Silva, says: "Through our Stronger Starts programme, we're supporting children to get the best possible start in life – whether that's helping out with their first baby grow, or as they grow up, providing funding for nutritious food and activity equipment."