News

Override Spinning to Spread Smiles

966 1024 Suzanne Brennan

On Sunday 18 October, brand new spinning studio, Override in Woodside Park, North London, is taking on a challenge to cycle to Great Ormond Street Hospital and back – whilst we can’t physically go to GOSH they’re still going the distance to spread more smiles!
The classes cost £15 each with the full amount coming to Spread a Smile. To join either the 9am or 10am classes click the link below and scroll through to 18 October.

Sign up here: https://overridespin.com/index.php/timetable/

Annual Golf Day

1024 683 Viv Levene

The Annual Spread a Smile Golf Day was held in beautiful sunshine at The Shire London Golf Club. 35 teams tee’d off to play golf and fundraise to spread smiles to seriously ill children and teenagers in hospital and isolating at home.

The teams played a round of golf and enjoyed breakfast, lunch and drinks on the terrace after their round.

When players came off the course, they were shown this moving film by Gordon Rose, father of Amie, who explained how Spread a Smile brightened Amie’s days while she was undergoing treatment and at home.

Huge thanks to all of our sponsors, Masthaven, Kingswood, Opticore, the Jaye Family and McGraths as well as all those who contributed towards the day including Metcalfe’s, Hartley’s, Nourish, Lola’s Cupcakes, Complete Golfer, PIAFF Champagne, APL Media and Cotswolds Gin.

Spreading Summery Smiles with Wall’s

640 480 Viv Levene

We’re making the most of the last few days of summer by arranging a special ice cream drop at Great Ormond Street Hospital thanks to our lovely friends at Wall’s.

Ice creams, including Calippos, Twisters and Happy Rainbows were delivered to children in the hospital as a fun treat and distraction.

Laura Walsh, Head of Play at GOSH, said, “Thank you Spread a Smile. Delivering the Wall’s ice cream today brought so much excitement and joy to GOSH. At a time when staff are tired and have been managing increased anxiety for a long time this treat energised us all. Children and young people were over the moon. You’re superstars.”

Thanks so much to Wall’s for this very welcome treat.

Smiles for our Summer Activity Day

1024 768 Viv Levene

We were delighted to host our first ever virtual Activity Day at the end of the summer, bringing together children we’ve entertained before and throughout lockdown for lots of Spread a Smile fun. The day consisted of magic sessions with Britain’s Got Talent winner Richard Jones, dance, arts & crafts, fairy fun and a fun science session with Mad Science.  Sessions ran for over 60 patients and were split into options for children aged 3-8 and those aged 9-12. Families could choose which sessions they joined during the day, with one parent saying, “Both our children really enjoyed the day. It was a lot of fun and creative. The magic shows were really magical. It wasn’t just the kids who enjoyed the activities, I did too!”

We’re looking forward to running further Activity Days later in the year, and we’re planning our next one for October half term. Watch this space for more details.

Summer Activity Day

724 1024 Viv Levene

We’re so excited to announce that we’re hosting our first virtual Spread a Smile Summer Activity Day on 20 August from 10am – 2pm. The day is open for all children (aged 3-12) and their siblings who we’ve either met on our hospital visits or who we’ve entertained virtually over the last few months.

We’ve got lots of exciting treats lined up including magic, arts & crafts, dance, fairy fun and Mad Science.

For more information and to book your place please email events@spreadasmile.org.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Marvellous Mask Designs

1024 1024 Viv Levene

Throughout lockdown, children and teenagers have continued to receive radiotherapy treatment however, we have been restricted in our abilities to support them.  We are pleased to share with you that another of our services, designing and personalising radiotherapy masks and moulds, has now resumed and our talented Head of Art, Marina, has been extremely busy catching up with requests.  Radiotherapy treatment can be a very traumatic experience for children and having a personalised mask or mould featuring their favourite characters, football teams or likes can help take away some of the fear and, in many cases, lead to greater acceptance of treatment.  Recognition of the positive difference this service makes is evident in the increasing demand – since restarting this initiative last month, Marina has completed more than 25 masks and moulds and we now receive requests from paediatric radiotherapy teams across our network of hospital partners on an almost daily basis.

Lovely Amber, aged 10, lives in Kent with her family. However, for the duration of her 30-session treatment at UCLH, she and her mum have moved to London to be close to the hospital. Amber loves art and has been busy creating designs to keep herself motivated and remain positive. Using Amber’s rainbow and lemonade designs as inspiration, Marina personalised her two radiotherapy leg moulds.  On seeing the masks for the first time, Amber told her mum, ‘They looked so good.  I’m going to keep them forever!’

 

 

Peachy Playhouse Spreads Smiles

1024 683 Viv Levene

We’re absolutely delighted to have been appointed the charity partner of Peachy Playhouse, a drive-in family festival being held at Loseley Park, Guildford from 18-31 July.  Peachy will be recording all of its children’s shows for Smile TV plus, on 23 July, stream the shows live and give special shout-outs throughout the day to our children and families watching in hospital or from home.

A Spread a Smile film, highlighting the impact of our work, will also be shown on the big screen throughout the two week festival.  We’d like to thank everyone at Peachy Playhouse for their fantastic support.

 

Spreading Smiles with Wall Art

1024 768 Viv Levene

These last few months have been hard for us whilst we haven’t been able to make face to face hospital visits, so we’ve been thinking as creatively as possible so that we can keep spreading smiles, which we know are needed more now than ever.

That’s why Marina, our resident artist, has been creating hand drawn window transfers for children in hospital. She takes individual requests from patients so that each design is personalised and these are then sent to children in hospital to stick to their walls and windows to brighten their surroundings. Special requests have included Trolls, Spurs and PJ Masks, which you can see pictured below.

 

Marina has also been busy at St Mary’s Hospital painting magical murals on the walls to brighten the hospital environment. COVID-19 has meant that hospital playrooms are closed and shared toys have been removed from waiting areas, which has meant these spaces are especially bland and boring. Marina has created interactive designs, which really allow kids to use their imaginations. The hospital can be a frightening place, and a welcoming, child-friendly environment is essential to helping them cope with their hospital experience, as well as providing a necessary distraction while waiting for appointments and having treatments.

We are also continuing to spread smiles at this time via our digital services including Smile TV, where families can access our entertainment 24/7, Smile Spaces Zoom sessions with personalised entertainment for children and their families, Smile Parties and Smile Sessions where children who are all on the same ward can be entertained together online.

 

 

Incredible Fundraising by Irwin Mitchell

1024 768 Viv Levene

Irwin Mitchell’s London Office so kindly chose Spread a Smile as their charity partner in 2019/20. After a year of hard work, total dedication and lots of fun, they raised an astonishing £44,448 to support our vital work with seriously ill children in hospitals. This partnership was the first of its kind for Spread a Smile and is one that will always remain very close to our heart. Their initial fundraising target was £10,000, making their fundraising total even more of a triumph!

As well as raising such vital funds for the charity, the team in London also generously supported Spread a Smile by offering pro bono legal advice throughout the partnership (and beyond). This is invaluable to a small charity like Spread a Smile and has made the world of difference on a number of key projects that we have undertaken. We absolutely loved working with, and getting to know, the team throughout our partnership and are proud to have forged long-lasting relationships within the London Office.

At Spread a Smile we strongly believe that each child, family, hospital staff member, company and partnership is different. It is for this reason that we tailor every aspect of our work so that we are always offering a personal touch – whether that’s a bedside visit personal to the specific needs of a child or a multi-thousand pound charity partnership.

We pride ourselves on taking this approach to our work and would love to hear from you if you are a company looking for a new charity partner. Needless to say – we will work closely with you to create a partnership that works for your team, office and wider company. Get in touch with our Head of Fundraising, Imogen Slazenger, to find out more – imogen@spreadasmile.org

thortful teams up with Spread a Smile

725 1024 Viv Levene

We are so excited to announce a fabulous new partnership with thortful, the online greetings card marketplace. In the coming weeks, children we entertain in hospital and at home will be creating cards that could be sent to their family, friends and pets who they are missing and can’t see at this time. The children will then be matched with a thortful designer to finalise the design before the cards are available for sale on thortful.com from  20 July. All profits from the sale of the cards will go to Spread a Smile.

Lucy Jackson, CEO of Spread a Smile, said, “We’re big fans of thortful.com at Spread a Smile and we have often thought when on the site, having seen their Send a Smile section, what a great fit our two brands are. Together, we have created a project that can entertain and inspire the young people we support, which is particularly important at the moment where they are more isolated than ever before in hospital and at home. We are excited to be able to introduce some of our young budding artists to the talented creative community at thortful. The partnership will also help to raise much needed awareness of our cause and funds to support our work.”

Andy Pearce, CEO of thortful comments, “Spread a Smile do some amazing work within hospitals delivering fun and entertainment to very poorly children, we are delighted to be able to facilitate a fun interactive activity for them, our brilliant creative community can’t wait to bring the children’s designs to life!” . 

Over the next few weeks, we will be continuing with our regular deliveries of activity packs to our hospital partners but this time they will contain donated blank cards and felt tip pens for the children to use to make their designs. We will be promoting the partnership during Children’s Art Week, which provided the inspiration for the theme of the project, connecting across generations.

This is our first design by Mikayla, age 10, and our second is by Amber, also 10. We can’t wait to share more with you soon.

The new range of Spread a Smile cards will be available to buy on thortful.com from 20 July.