From April 2018, our teams of entertainers will start visiting the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, located next to St Thomas’ Hospital, on Westminster Bridge, bringing the total number of hospitals we now work into 5. Recently we also increased our visits at Great Ormond Street Hospital, going from 2 to 4 visits per month.
The Evelina treats children with all kinds of health conditions. It is the UK’s leading hospital for paediatric heart services as well as a specialist in kidney transplants and dialysis, cleft lip surgery, metabolic conditions, allergy and neurology. The hospital treats 50,000 children each year of all ages; from babies in the womb, through to young adulthood.
We will start by taking one group of entertainers per month, taking our total number of monthly visits across all 5 hospitals to 20, and we hope to be able to increase this in the not too distant future.
Lucy Jackson, CEO, said “It’s wonderful to be able to add a new hospital to our current offering. This gives us the opportunity to see even more children and teenagers who are seriously ill. We are very excited to bring our wonderful teams of entertainers, consisting of magicians, fairies, singers and face-painters to The Evelina to spread even more smiles.”
Recently we increased our monthly visits at Great Ormond Street Hospital from two to four a month. We now take 28 entertainers per month across three visits. Talia, who visits with Cassie the therapy dog, recently underwent advanced training so she now visits GOSH monthly too with Cassie, a six year old Cavapoo.
Talia said: “Visiting Great Ormond Street Hospital with Cassie has been one of the most amazing experiences for me. These young people that we visit are by far some of the bravest people I have met and inspire me each time we go to GOSH. My favourite part of going into the hospital is seeing children that have met Cassie before, watching their faces light up as they catch a glimpse of her and hear them shout out, ‘Cassie’ as if it’s their best friend. It’s such a simple thing that we do, yet it has the most profound reaction – I feel so lucky to watch it happen.”
Jamie Wilcox, Head of Volunteer Services at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said: “We think your Spread a Smile team are incredible. We couldn’t do without you. The patients and families rely on the expertise and professionalism of your entertainers and experienced team. We only wish you could visit GOSH more often than four days a month. The difference you make to the patients and families you visit is outstanding. Thank you Spread a Smile for making such a difference.”