Being in hospital can be a scary experience for anyone but for a child it can often be even more nerve-wracking.

Fear and anxiety can have a negative impact on a child's recovery, which is why play is central to everyday life at our hospital.

We believe children who are happy and relaxed cope better with their treatment and recover a lot quicker than those who are more anxious.

Play allows children to express their feelings, ask questions about their condition and also have fun.

We help to fund a team of 12 Play and Recreation Facilitators and Workers who support more than 250 children and families every single day.

These dedicated Play and Recreation Facilitators and Workers are an essential part of a patient’s recovery, personal development and overall experience.

The team:

  • Form close relationships with patients and parents, putting them at ease and helping them understand treatments and illnesses.

  • Promote stimulation and personal interaction as well as encouraging movement and communication, allowing patients to share their worries and confront their fears.

  • Enable our patients to regain an element of power in a situation where they feel like they have little control, encouraging them to make choices about what they would like to read or play.

  • Work with siblings to ensure they feel involved and valued in their family’s hospital experience, lessening the risk of them feeling isolated.

In addition, each ward has its own dedicated play space and our play team brings music, art, games and stories to all kids, providing a diversion from difficult, uncomfortable or upsetting situations.

And our bespoke Play and Admissions Centre offers children and young people the chance to enjoy activities away from their hospital beds. We also have special sensory rooms, which provide stimulation for children with physical disabilities, developmental delay and sensory impairments, along with chill-out zones for our older patients and a bright outdoor play area.

Many of our sick kids will spend a large part of their childhood with us, so our play team also helps to organise special events for birthdays, religious festivals and visits from entertainers and celebrities. These celebrations give our children and their families something to look forward to and the chance to make happy, lasting memories.

Help us raise the £300,000 needed every year to allow us to continue bringing play to our brave children.

Your gift will make a big difference to the thousands of sick kids who visit us every year, allowing them to be children first and patients second.