Breaking Down Digital Barriers

494 285 Suzanne Brennan

Spread a Smile, the children’s hospital entertainment charity, is thrilled to announce that, thanks to its partners, Bregal Milestone, it will be further supporting seriously ill and hospitalised children through the provision of digital devices.  More than 40 iPads have been distributed to play specialist teams across the charity’s network of hospital partners which will be used to distract children during extended hospital stays and treatment and more significantly during lockdown, increase their connectivity with family and friends.

Lucy Jackson, Chief Executive of Spread a Smile, said, “We’re so grateful to everyone at Bregal Milestone for their commitment to increasing digital access for hospitalised children, helping to break down the digital divide and spreading smiles.  This last year has highlighted just how important it is to the wellbeing of children isolating in hospital to maintain their connection with friends and family at home.  Sadly, so many children do not have access to their own devices.  These iPads will enable them to maintain those connections as well as enjoy a host of educational apps and games plus Spread a Smile’s virtual entertainer visits and Smile TV.”

The iPads come at a critical time.  Hospital lockdown restrictions will continue for the foreseeable future meaning communal play spaces remain closed, children are confined to their beds and restricted to only one parent visitor.  Over the last year Spread a Smile has transformed its service delivery to ensure it could continue to support children by providing a range of digital entertainment and play options including virtual one to one entertainer visits, group sessions, activity days, after school clubs and Smile TV – an entertainment channel filled with videos and clips from our entertainers and famous faces.

Jan Bruennler, Philippe Lautenberg and Cyrus Shey, Managing Partners at Bregal Milestone, said, “The entire team at Bregal Milestone is pleased to have partnered with Spread a Smile and IT providers, Arkphire to give children in hospital these new tablets during Covid-19. In these times of strict isolation, we hope these tablets will allow children in hospital to stay connected to their loved ones, to enjoy Spread a Smile’s entertainment and to feel much love and companionship from friends, family and Spread a Smile.”

Hayley Gilburt, Senior Play Specialist at St George’s Hospital, said, “We’re so happy with our brand new iPads from Spread a Smile. They arrived setup with lots of games for our patients to play. This is so helpful when distracting patients during painful and scary procedures. They also provide a great way for our patients to access all sorts of virtual entertainment and activities put on by Spread a Smile. We have been enjoying some fantastic magic shows, balloon modelling, art sessions and much more with them.” 

The iPads are all on a managed system which means they are come preloaded with age-appropriate games, educational and communications apps and allows the charity to upload new games and apps to meet with growing demand.  They have been delivered along with branded shockproof cases to GOSH, UCLH, St Mary’s Hospital, St George’s Hospital, The Royal Brompton, Evelina Children’s Hospital, Kings College Hospital, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and Southampton Hospital.