Put very simply, a giraffe incubator helps to make sick babies well.

But of course, it’s not as simple as that.

A giraffe incubator provides an exceptional, high tech, healing environment for premature new-born babies. It provides a consistently controlled thermal environment matched with high levels of visibility which reduce parents’ stress.

In 2017, the intention was to provide one giraffe incubator for the Friends of the Aberdeen Neo Natal Unit charity. However, generous Signature Food Festival supporters donated more than £100,000 – which was enough to purchase two giraffe incubators for babies who are born early or poorly with an ideal environment to support their wellbeing. Although based in Aberdeen Neo Natal unit, these incubators provide life-saving environments for new-born babies whose homes can be as far away from the city as the Shetland Isles.

In 2019, along with other significant donations for specialist nurse training, a further two incubators were gifted to the charity along with an ultra-sound scanner for the unit too.

Friends head of fundraising Katie Kyle said at the time of the 2019 donation,

“We’re over the moon that Signature has chosen to support us for the third year in a row. Those who attend the festival are amazing donors and support the fundraising element so very generously. As a result, we’ve been able to invest in specialist medical equipment and plan for facilities at the new Baird Hospital, a replacement for the maternity hospital, in 2021.

"This continued support will enable us to be able to do so much more than we imagined and will make such a difference, exceeding our ambitions for the new Baird Family Hospital."
Friends head of fundraising, Katie Kyle

The Signature celebrity chefs always enthusiastically support the fundraising of the festival.

Atul Kochhar, the first Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin star, explained that the north-east event had championed a cause “close to his heart”.

He said: “My daughter was born critically ill and she wouldn’t have survived without Great Ormond Street Hospital.

“Anything and everything that comes my way where I’ll be able to help children, I just do without even thinking.

“So, when I was asked if I could help Friends of the Neonatal Unit, I said yes.”