News

Face to Face Hospital Visit

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On Monday 7 June we spread extra special smiles with our first face to face visit in 15 months!

Sar and her guitar entertained children on the paediatric ward at Whittington Hospital in Highgate, North London.

Florence Prince, Play Specialist, said, “The singing session today was just fantastic! To be able to sing and have Sar playing the guitar and singing was magical. It really gave the children and their families a sense of some normality in a hospital environment. Children participated by clapping their hands, singing and lots of smiles on Ifor Ward. We as a team are so honoured to work with Spread a Smile.”

We can’t wait to return to face to face visits at our other NHS hospital partners over the coming months. These visits will take place alongside our virtual visits, spreading smiles and joy to seriously ill and hospitalised children and teenagers.

Half term of smiles

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It’s been a half term of smiles and laughter for the children and young people we support. We ran sessions to suit all ages and were delighted to see the fabulous smiles spread.

On Tuesday 1 June, we offered a Festival Make-Up session, led by talented MUA Abi Anahory. Thanks to Go Get Glitter and My Lottie London for the fabulous make up and glitter.

The wonderful Birmingham Stage Company ran a virtual workshop of their Terrible Tudors performance (part of Horrible Histories).

On Thursday 3 June we were thrilled to offer virtual character visits with Skye from PAW Patrol and with Paddington. Thank you to Rainbow Mascots for spreading so much joy.

Spreading Smiles at Southampton Children’s Hospital

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We’ve welcomed Southampton Children’s Hospital to our growing list of partner hospitals.

Southampton recently moved their radiotherapy services to UCLH and we started entertaining patients from Southampton whilst they were in London for treatment. We wanted to extend our services to support all the families receiving oncology treatment there and are now spreading much needed smiles to children and young people on Piam Brown ward.

We hope to extend our services to other paediatric wards within Southampton Children’s Hospital soon.

Patients currently enjoy Spread a Smile virtual visits with our entertainers and joined our Santa’s Grotto over Christmas as well as our Jellly Challenge at the beginning of May. We’re looking forward to adding more services in the future.

Claire Pickett, Play Specialist on Piam Brown ward, said, “Spread a Smile has been a really positive addition to the Piam Brown ward. The children look forward to their sesions and even after they’ve ended the enjoyment continues, as they can’t wait to tell us all what they’ve been up to.

“As well as the individual sessions, the group sessions have been fantastic for the interaction between the children and it’s been lovely to see. They really do Spread a Smile and we feel incredibly lucky to have them at Southampton Children’s Hospital.”

Wyse & Spread a Smile

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Luxury fashion brand Wyse London has teamed with Spread a Smile to launch the sale of their new vibrant Wyse x Spread a Smile t-shirt.

As we approach the end of the Lockdown restrictions and the uncertainty of the last year with the global Pandemic, the significance of supporting others has become clearer than ever. The Wyse x Spread a Smile t-shirt features an eye-catching ‘love’ emblem that symbolises hope, connection and the importance of giving back. It’s a truly fantastic purchase for anyone who would like to support an incredible charity and help to spread a smile on the faces of seriously ill children.

Going on sale on the 28th May, all profits made from the brand’s second collaboration t-shirt sales will go directly to Spread a Smile.

Wyse London offers a wide range of stylish pieces for every occasion. After bursting onto the fashion scene in 2014, the brand has developed a large customer base, an impressive social media following and is the must have label worn by many celebrities. The recent Wyse collaboration with Spread a Smile aims to increase awareness and help raise extra funds for this incredible charity.  Marielle Wyse founder of the fashion brand comments:

“Spread a Smile is such an important cause, because it brings positivity to seriously ill children and their families. I wanted to design a spirit-lifting t-shirt so I used our signature Wyse sparkle and colour to make it as joyful as possible. I hope it puts a smile on the face of whoever wears it.”

Lucy Jackson, CEO of Spread a Smile, added:

“We’re so grateful to Marielle and the whole Wyse team for this second collaboration with Spread a Smile. The ‘love’ from this beautiful tee will help us to spread even more smiles to seriously ill children and teenagers.”

The Wyse x Spread a Smile t-shirt is £70 and available to purchase at: https://www.wyselondon.co.uk/collections/homepage-favourites/products/lily-love-glitter-tee-grey

 

Rosie Fortescue Jewellery Partnership

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The luxury jewellery brand, Rosie Fortescue Jewellery, has collaborated with Spread a Smile to launch a beautiful rainbow bracelet.

The delicate bracelet, embellished in rainbow cubic zirconia, retails for £50 and can be purchased directly from the Rosie Fortescue Jewellery website. 100% of profits from the sale of the bracelet will be donated to Spread a Smile.

Rosie Fortescue Jewellery, created by Rosie Fortescue, is a luxury jewellery brand that is accessible to all. Rosie designs collections that are fun and playful, putting the perfect finishing touch to an outfit.

Spread a Smile brings joy and laughter to seriously ill children and teenagers during long hospital. Their entertainers, including fairies, musicians, magicians, artists and more visit children at their bedsides, distracting them from pain and treatment, breaking the monotony of the hospital environment and creating positive memories for them, their parents and siblings.

Rosie said, “I wanted to create a piece of jewellery that would support Spread a Smile and help bring some happiness and joy to the wearer as well as to help bring joy to seriously ill children and teenagers. The bright colours used in the bracelet reflect the happiness and positivity of a smile.”

Lucy Jackson, Chief Executive of Spread a Smile, said, “We’re delighted to be collaborating with Rosie Fortescue Jewellery on this gorgeous rainbow bracelet, proceeds from which will help us to spread more smiles to seriously ill and hospitalised children and teenagers. We’re incredibly grateful to Rosie and her team for their wonderful support.”

Smiles at Whittington Hospital

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We’re now spreading smiles to young patients at Whittington Hospital in Highgate, North London.  The Whittington has recently expanded its paediatric oncology and haematology services and increased the number of inpatient beds and we’re delighted to help extend our support to all the children and young people in their care.

Sonal Patel, clinical nurse specialist for haematology and oncology said, “Thank you to Spread a Smile for all the joy they have brought to our children on the ward and in our oncology clinics. The recent delivery of strawberry balloons went down a treat.  The children passed through the corridors and tears naturally turned into smiles. It is so lovely to have such an amazing charity by our side, working with us to support our patients and their families.” 

Welcome to Team Smile

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We recently announced our ambition to become a national charity and a leading voice in hospital entertainment by 2024.  Investing in our team plays a critical part in achieving our goals and, this month we are delighted to welcome three new team members.  Jasmin Minjoot (pictured) has been appointed Operations Manager heading up the services team as we begin to expand our networks outside of London and Ellie Walker and Laura Messin join as Visit Managers, responsible for family liaison, managing the increasing demand for our virtual bedside visits, and once we are back in hospitals, our scheduled entertainer visits.   All three have extensive knowledge of the charity and experience of working with families as, for the past few years, all three have been valuable members of our entertainment team and otherwise known as Fairy Jasmin, Fairy Ellie and Fairy Laura.   As such, when required, they will also continue to entertain seriously ill and hospitalised children and teenagers.

We asked Jasmin about her new role…

What are you excited about in your new role?

“I’m super excited to be more involved with the ‘behind the scenes’, I have so many ideas that I just can’t wait to get out! Being part of the Spread a Smile team is such a dream. As an entertainer I’ve seen first hand the reactions and impact of what we do and now, in this new role, it enables me to help keep us moving towards new and exciting goals.”

What do you love about Spread a Smile?

“The smiles! Honestly, the amount of smiles that we create is just incredible! I think everyone knows that warm, fuzzy feeling of true happiness and to be able to create that feeling through our entertainers and events is truly special. Who doesn’t love to smile?!”

Are you still Fairy Jasmin?

“Well, a fairy can be in disguise as Operations Manager, but there’s no way anyone could take away my wings! I have always loved performing, from when I went to my very first dance class as a tiny tot. I remember watching a show when I was younger and how happy it made me, and ever since then that’s what I wanted to do, to make people feel that happiness. When I sing, I love to get into character and sometimes that means being very silly and I just love the giggles and smiles that come from it. It’s amazing that I can still be on hand for entertaining within this new role.”

May Fundraising Round Up

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Thank you, as always, to the incredible fundraisers who go over and above to raise money and help us spread more smiles to seriously ill and hospitalised children under the care of our NHS partner hospitals.

As always, we’ve been blown away by your incredible fundraising support and the levels you will go to spread more smiles.  This month’s daredevil award definitely goes to Indre Tumenaite from our partners, Metcalfe’s, who took to the skies for a sponsored wing walk.  Click Wingwalking 4 to see Indre in the skies.  Our friends at  ICBC Standard Bank held a virtual painting class for charity raising £470.  And, a team from Hain Daniels together rode 874 miles (the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats) for Spread a Smile. If you have a fundraising idea of your own we would love to hear from you.

Alternatively, join Team Smile in one of our challenge events this year – there’s still plenty of time to train.

 

 

Indre from Metcalfe’s took part in a sponsored wing walk for Spread a Smile!

 

New partnership with Opticore IT

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We’re delighted to announce that Opticore IT has officially partnered with Spread a Smile to help us bring smiles and joy to seriously ill and hospitalised children.

Neil Taylor, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Opticore (pictured at our 2020 Golf Day), said, “Everyone at Opticore is honoured to partner with Spread a Smile. It is an amazing charity offering children in hospital much needed distraction. Everyone at Opticore cannot wait to help add a little more magic to these children and young people.” 

Opticore IT has big plans for the year ahead including participation and sponsorship of our golf day in October, a gaming marathon and volunteering plus Talent Hunter, Simon Chandler has joined Team Smile in the virtual London Marathon.

Thank you Opticore IT, we’re looking forward to working with the team.

Discover 1,000s of magazines with Readly

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Our friends at Readly, the digital magazine and newspaper subscription service, have launched a special promotion exclusively for Spread Smile supporters. 

Firstly, enjoy a two-month free trial of unlimited magazines and newspapers and, if you then go on to sign up for their monthly subscription, Readly will donate £10 to Spread a Smile.  Your account can be shared with up to five family members – each of whom will have access to more than 5,000 popular titles (current and back copies), including Hello, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Four Two Two, and multiple children’s comics and magazines. 

It’s an exciting and environmental way for you and your family to have a world of discovery at your fingertips while spreading more smiles.  Start reading on Readly today and get all the latest car, travel, health & fitness, food, fashion and lifestyle inspiration you’ll ever need.

Click here to start sign up.