A family from Stafford has marked the start of work on a brand new outdoor playground at our hospital – a vital resource for thousands of sick kids who visit the hospital every year – following a fundraising appeal which saw members of the public, community groups and local businesses raise £230,000.

The Turners are one of hundreds of families who have benefited from spending time in the hospital’s playground. Eleven-year-old Millie Turner was diagnosed with a rare chromosome syndrome called Potocki Lupski Syndrome when she was just 15-months-old. She has been a regular visitor to Birmingham Children’s Hospital since then, with her siblings, Flo, nine, and Stanley, six, often coming along for appointments.

The outdoor play area has given the family some degree of normality during their hospital visits and provides fresh air, exercise and somewhere for the children to relax and be themselves in a non-clinical environment. However, after more than 13 years of constant use, the playground was in desperate need of renovation.

Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity launched the £230,000 ‘Out to Play’ appeal to transform the old, outdoor playground in to a new, vibrant one that will bring fun, laughter and light relief to patients and their families during difficult times. Following the closure of the appeal just a few months ago, work has now officially started on the playground, which will include new features such as a basketball net, interactive wall, as well as a climbing frame.

The Turners did their part in raising the money needed to reach the total by organising raffles and tea parties at their school, Church Eaton Primary, and so were invited back, as special guests, to the hospital to officially help get the work underway.

Millie’s mum, Kathryn, said: “With Millie’s condition, we have experienced some extremely scary times as a family. But the outside playground provided a little bubble of fun and relief for Millie and her siblings. It was invaluable in keeping us all united as a family and reminding us to smile even when we least felt like it. The kids were so pleased to come back to the hospital and take a last look at the old playground, where they’ve spent so many hours over the years. We can’t wait to see the finished result!” 

Miranda Williams, Public Fundraising Manager at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Playing can have a huge impact on children in hospital, but our playground had become tired and was in desperate need of a face lift. We always look to do more for our sick kids, which is why we launched our ‘Out to Play’ appeal. The public reacted so positively and we were blown away with the generosity of our supporters.

“It feels fantastic to have officially started work, and we all want to thank Millie, Flo and Stanley for coming in and marking this major milestone. We hope to complete the refurbishment in early August, and can’t wait to showcase the new outdoor play area to our patients, families and staff.”