Uncommon fundraising, volunteering and more

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Corporate support for Spread a Smile is invaluable and we’re extremely grateful to all our corporate partners and supporters for the different ways they help us to achieve our aims – be it through Charity of the Year partnerships, donations, fundraising, volunteering, pro bono work and more.

The support we receive from our friends at Uncommon is just one example of how we work with our partners to develop a mutually beneficial relationship, with the main aim of making a difference to the families that Spread a Smile supports.

The relationship started two years ago when Uncommon kindly provided us with office space so we could deliver our Christmas activities. This made such a difference to our preparations as our Christmas support is a huge undertaking, involving creating a Christmas grotto from scratch and managing, packing and delivering thousands of presents to multiple locations across the UK.

“I am so proud of our partnership with Spread a Smile – a charity supporting seriously ill and hospitalised children. I have witnessed the huge difference they make to the children, so it is a pleasure to support them with fundraising initiatives. Our team volunteers regularly and everyone is touched by the work that is done. We have been hosting events for the charity in our locations and having Spread a Smile based permanently in one of our buildings makes them part of the Uncommon family. The bond we have is powerful. The next step is to further involve our clients in fundraisers. By working together we can create an even greater positive impact.” Luciano Frederico, Assistant General Manager at Uncommon.

Moving the Spread a Smile Head office to Uncommon, Highbury cemented our relationship further, with Uncommon employees regularly volunteering to support the charity at our family events and Christmas packing days.

The Uncommon team recently hosted four quizzes across all of their sites (Liverpool Street, Borough, Fulham and Highbury), raising over £2,000 for Spread a Smile and our work bringing joy to seriously ill children and their families. The quizzes went down so well with members that they are thinking of making them a yearly thing.

CEO of Uncommon, Chris Davies also sits on our Real Estate Committee, helping us to plan and reach new audiences.

Lucy Jackson, Spread a Smile Chief Executive said, “We are extremely grateful to all of our friends at Uncommon for their invaluable support. Their commitment, passion and positivity means a huge amount, helping us to continue to provide our vital services to families when they most need it.”

Thank you Uncommon. We couldn’t do what we do without you.

If you would like to talk about how your company can support Spread a Smile, please email Amanda Azouz to get the ball rolling.

Mount Toubkal Summit - Team Smile

Team Smile conquers Mount Toubkal

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Last week, 14 amazing supporters joined our Chief Executive, Lucy Jackson us for an incredible 6-day fundraising trek through the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco in aid of Spread a Smile.

This tough but incredibly rewarding challenge pushed the team mentally and physically, taking in peaks dotted with Berber villages before tackling northern Africa’s tallest peak – Jebel Toubkal, standing at a whopping 4,167m.

Team Smile Mount Toubkal“The trek was an absolutely incredible experience. Being part of a group and watching people find their physical and emotional edge and push on past it to reach a summit of 4,167 meters is something I ‘ll never forget. Thank you to everyone in the group. Sharing that experience with some of the Spread a Smile team made it really special for me.” Richard Balloqui

We are so grateful to this brilliant team who raised over £30,000 for our work spreading smiles to seriously ill children and young people. A HUGE Spread a Smile shout out to Aron, Danielle, Ernest, Janet, Joanna, Lisa, Liz, Lucy, Matthew, Natalie, Nicole, Rachel, Richard and Sammy. Also to our trek partners Charity Challenge.

“You have a picture in your mind of how the trek is going to go and then as you start to climb higher and higher, that picture fades away and reality kicks in. It was so much harder than we thought it would be, However you have two choices; to stop, turn around and return to something comfortable or to push yourself past what you thought was your limit and reach that summit stronger than you ever believed you could be.

“At all times in the back of our minds are the families and children in hospital. Thinking about them spurred us on. Every step we took, we took for them. As a group we could not have done this without each other. The support and camaraderie was amazing. It was an experience never to be forgotten, making us stronger as individuals and hopefully spreading more smiles to the wonderful children who deserve only happiness in their lives.” Natalie Gubbay-Jackson

We’re already planning our 2024 trip and we’d love for you to join us! Please email us at to be the first to find out more.


Chloe and Therapy Dog

Mental Health Awareness Week

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Today is the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, a very important week which aims to educate and raise awareness around mental health.

For the families we support, the pressures of serious illness can be hugely and negatively impactful on mental health. Spread a Smile aims to support our families and their wellbeing, providing positive and happy moments of distraction and helping to reduce stress and feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Our team of entertainers include musicians, magicians, poets, therapy dogs, artists, fairies and more. Each bring their own unique talents and abilities to their work, creating special moments of joy, fun and engagement which enable our families to escape – even if it’s just for a moment – from their day-to-day realities. A visit from one of our team to a child at their hospital bedside can make such a difference to how they feel and manage their hospital experience.

“I have seen the Spread a Smile team interact with my child when he was so ill that he list all interest in play, but they managed to re-engage the magic.” Parent

“Having a singer sing nursery rhymes at her bedside filled us with joy, as it just felt like some normality amongst all of the chaos and heartache.” Parent

Our Therapy Dogs provide a physical comfort and warmth to the patients they meet. Patients enjoy brushing their fur, stroking them, sitting quietly with them and feeding them treats.

“It was during our daily visits to UCLH that we met Spread a Smile. The team were visiting with Buddy, one of their Therapy Dogs. Kaiden was in recovery from general anaesthetic and wasn’t particularly bothered about seeing anyone. However, within a couple of minutes of meeting Buddy, he was sitting up in bed, stroking and playing with Buddy and giving him treats. Kaiden’s recovery from anaesthetic was super quick that day! He just wanted to get up and absolutely loved being with Buddy. It was wonderful for me to see Kaiden happy and enjoying something different. When you spend so long in hospital, anything that breaks the monotony is a treat.” Parent

As part of #mentalhealthawarenessweek we are extremely grateful to our friends at Opticore for sponsoring our Therapy Dog visits to University College London Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Art is important in every child’s development. It encourages children to express their creativity, develop motor skills and heightens their ability to communicate and problem solve. For children in hospital, our art related projects and activities also provide a welcome distraction from treatment and the hospital environment.

“I have seen children express their feelings, fear and hopes through art in a wat they never could with words. Watching these young people, many of whom are going through the toughest times, utterly distracted from their treatment and hospital environment is a joy.” Marina Constantinou, Spread a Smile Head of Art.

We couldn’t do what we do without the generous support of our donors, fundraisers, volunteers and partners. Thank you for all your support and please take a look here for how you enable us to make a difference for incredible children like Chloe and their families.

Convex Partnership Launch

Convex partnership launch

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It’s thanks to amazing support from companies such as international specialty insurer and reinsurer, Convex, that Spread a Smile can continue to spread smiles to seriously ill children and young people and their families.

We are delighted to have been chosen by staff at Convex’s London office as their Charity of the Year and are looking forward to building an in depth and exciting partnership.

To kick things off, Convex have made a donation which will make a hugely positive impact on our ability to spread even more smiles this year across the country.

We’re also looking forward to welcoming staff from Convex to volunteer at our family events and also take part in some of our fundraising events and activities.

Lucy Jackson, Spread a Smile CEO said, “We are incredibly proud and grateful to have been chosen as Charity of the Year for Convex. Even more so knowing that the team at Convex voted for us.

“We very much enjoyed visiting Convex recently to introduce Spread a Smile and to talk about exciting fundraising plans for the year and the difference their support will make to our work.

“Together we will be able to spread smiles so many seriously ill children who really need us.”

Choong Kwan, Head of IT Audit at Convex said, “I’m thrilled the Convex London team have chosen Spread a Smile, my family has benefited from their amazing work. Their fairies, puppies and musicians came into the ward and made my daughter, Emilie, laugh and giggle through her long hospital stays. So wonderful.”

A huge thank you to everyone at Convex for their invaluable support.

The Play That Goes Wrong

The Play That Goes Wrong

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This May, the multi award-winning comedy troupe Mischief and the London company of The Play That Goes Wrong are supporting Spread a Smile throughout ‘Mischief May’.

During May, Mischief is generously donating free tickets for every performance of The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre for some of the families we support to enjoy. They will also be organising collections at the theatre and online to help raise vital funds for our work spreading smiles to seriously ill children and young people.

Excitingly, Mischief will be creating unique content for Smile TV, Spread a Smile’s 24/7 online entertainment channel and working with our services team to organise a behind the scenes half-term workshop to be streamed live from the Play That Goes Wrong in the West End.

Lucy Jackson, CEO at Spread a Smile said: “We are extremely grateful to everyone at Mischief, the Duchess Theatre and the cast and crew of the Play That Goes Wrong for all their support, enthusiasm and commitment during Mischief May.

The Play That Goes Wrong“We’re all about spreading smiles to seriously ill children and their families and what better way to do this than by sending families to see the hilarious Play That Goes Wrong.

“In addition to this, all the funds raised from bucket collections at the end of each show will enable us to raise vital funds to support our work spreading even more smiles.”

To make a donation and support Spread a Smile and Mischief May, please click here.

Tasha - Spread a Smile entertainer

Meet Visit Manager Tasha

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The Spread a Smile team of entertainers is at the heart of everything we do spreading smiles to seriously ill children and young people across our NHS hospital and hospice partners. We spoke to Tasha, one of our Visit Managers about her role with Spread a Smile.

“I have been working in theatre for 10 years now and am a singer and Visit Manager for Spread a Smile.

“I came to start working for the charity after hearing about them through a friend who already worked there. Being an Auntie to 7 little ones, I love kids and it sounded like an incredible thing to be part of. 

“Singing is my favorite thing to do and it’s a huge privilege to be able to use this to bring joy to children  and their families during some of their most challenging times. I remember singing to a little girl who didn’t speak any English but sang along with me to ‘Let it Go!’ Her Mum told me that her daughter hadn’t smiled much in weeks and suddenly there we were laughing together. We performed to her Grandparents over zoom from her hospital room and it was a memorable experience which I’m sure none of us will forget.

“Taking part in the TCS London Marathon was a huge moment for me. I started running during Covid when I was no longer able to perform and had a lot of time on my hands! When I got a place in the ballot I saw it as an amazing opportunity to raise some money for a charity where I see first hand just the enormous difference that’s being made.

“The marathon was extremely difficult, but the atmosphere and support was incredible. When I was struggling along the way, I just thought about some of the amazingly strong kids I have met through Spread a Smile and it kept me going! 

“I think often the most special part of what we do is seeing the parents’ reaction when they see their child simply being a child again – laughing and having fun. I love being part of the Spread a Smile team and everyone is so supportive with one common goal: to use what we do to bring as much joy as possible to those who need it most.”

To support Tasha’s work spreading smiles in hospitals and beyond, please donate here. Thank you.

Broadcast Revolution pro bono support

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The support of external organisations is vital for charities like Spread a Smile. Our work simply wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our partners and suppliers. One of the partners we’ve been lucky enough to work with is Broadcast Revolution, a specialist broadcast PR agency who have worked pro-bono to help Spread a Smile reach the airwaves of UK TV and Radio stations.

An example of this was for the launch of Smile TV, Spread a Smile’s 24-hour entertainment channel. As the pandemic significantly affected our ability to work in hospitals, we wanted to get the word out about our virtual entertainment programmes to reach as many seriously ill children and young people and their families. It was important not only to spread the message of Spread a Smile’s work, but to help us stand out when so many other charities were also dominating the news agenda. The launch was featured on LBC News, Talk Radio, and BBC London.

Other initiatives that Broadcast Revolution have supported on include our Riding House tea parties, Valentine’s Day balloons, celebrity ambassador announcements, our comedy shows, our virtual Christmas Grotto, and our summer party! It’s been wonderful to work with such a brilliant organisation to highlight our family events.

Broadcast Revolution have also generously supported us with video production, helping to develop a moving and impactful film about one of our annual golf days.

Pro bono support such as this is hugely impactful, enabling Spread a Smile to reach new audiences and achieve even more in our mission to make a difference to the lives of families struggling with the impact of serious illness. A huge thank you to Broadcast Revolution and all of the amazing companies that give up their time and resource to give so much.

Please contact our Head of Fundraising, Amanda Azouz to find out more about working with and supporting Spread a Smile.

10th Anniversary Gala Dinner

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Last night we celebrated 10 years of Spread a Smile at our special 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner at the beautiful Nobu Hotel London Portman Square. And what an amazing evening it was with an incredible £505,000 raised for our work spreading smiles to seriously ill children and young people.

We were joined by nearly 400 supporters, friends, families, and colleagues from across our hospital partners for an incredible evening of good food, entertainment, magic and of course laughter.

Suzi RuffellOur host, comedian Suzi Ruffell, expertly guided us through the proceedings, sharing her own personal journey as to how she became a Spread a Smile Ambassador after a friend’s child was in hospital and saw what a positive difference our entertainers made.

We also heard from our Co-Founders and Trustees, Josephine Segal and Vanessa Crocker who set up the charity after seeing the positive impact a magician’s visit had on Josephine’s young nephew, Aaron, during his treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). A very special moment followed when Josephine welcomed Aaron himself to the stage to share his story with us.

Richard JonesAs always, our talented entertainers were on hand to spread smiles during dinner, wowing guests with magic, poetry and musical performances. We were treated to very special performance from Spread a Smile Ambassador, magician, and winner of Britain’s Got Talent, Richard Jones, who kept everyone on the edge of their seats with his magical skills.

Spread a Smile CEO, Lucy Jackson and Chair of Trustees, Paul Godfrey both spoke about the impact of our work and how our guests and supporters have played an important role enabling the charity to grow over the last 10 years and will continue to do so as we embark on plans to achieve even more in the future.

Our work is vital to the children, young people and families we support and also the medical staff across our hospital and hospice partners. Eleanor Tyrell, Matron, Children’s and Young People’s Cancer Service at University College Hospital spoke to guests about her first-hand experience of Spread a Smile and the difference we make to staff and patients alike.

We were also honoured to welcome the family of Chloe Balloqui to share their journey with us. We met Chloe, Mum Karen, Dad Richard, and brother James in 2013, not long after Chloe’s diagnosis of stage 4 neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer. Last night Karen, Richard and James all spoke about the hugely positive impact Spread a Smile had on their lives during this dreadful time. We are so grateful to this brave, kind and inspirational family for sharing their personal life and experiences with us. You can find out more about Chloe’s journey and watch her special film here.

Guests had the opportunity to commit their support to Spread a Smile by pledging on the night and we are delighted to announce that an incredible £505,000 was raised for our work spreading smiles to seriously ill children, young people and their families across the UK.

A huge thank you to everyone for joining is last night, for their kindness and commitment and for helping us to celebrate our 10th birthday in style. You can take a look at photos from the event here.

Make sure you keep an eye out for photos of the amazing LEGO® table centrepieces; each one made by one of the families we support using sets donated by our friends at the LEGO Group. (You can read more about this amazing initiative here).

Thanks to the Nobu Hotel London Portman Square and our headline sponsor, Spring Finance Limited for their generous support and making this event possible.

Also, to Suzi Ruffell, Richard Jones, Aaron Maurice and everyone who helped make the event such a huge success. Here’s to the next 10 years!

Micro Scooters partnership

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No one relishes a stay in hospital but for children it can be an especially ominous and frightening prospect, often leading to high levels of anxiety which can make the hospital experience even more difficult for everyone involved.

In 2023, for the 2nd year running, we are delighted to partner with Micro Scooters to offer support for children, young people and staff across our NHS hospital partners. Every month Micro Scooters will donate 20 Scooters, as well as helmets and scooting accessories, to children receiving ongoing treatment and their siblings at one of our hospitals. They will also provide an additional five scooters to support the dedicated and hard-working NHS staff providing vital care on the wards.

Since the company’s inception almost 20 years ago, Micro Scooters has been donating scooters to hospitals and children’s wards to try and introduce a bit of fun and a few more smiles into mix. Our partnership will help Micro Scooters to target their donations more effectively and increase reach.

Ben Gibson, Managing Director, Micro Scooters said, “Micro are, and have always been, born out of a mission to give children and families a cleaner, greener way to explore their world and want to give every child the chance to enjoy the fun and feel-good of life on wheels, even when in hospital.

It never fails to hit us just how amazingly brave children can be. Suffering from conditions that as parents, we can’t even bear to contemplate, we are thrilled to be able to bring just a little bit of respite for children and their parents. Hospitals who have received a free donation of Micro Scooters in the past have told us it helps to provide fun as well as offering a small respite from the pressures of hospital life. Some are used to help children’s rehabilitation, sometimes our scooters are used in the children’s play area and sometimes adult scooters are used by doctors and nurses to get from one end of the hospital to the other!”

Laura Walter, Spread a Smile Director of Services said: “Physical activity is important for everyone, including children who are in hospital. Some patients can be in hospital for a long time, so it is important that they stay as active as possible during their stay. Scooting is a fantastic way to encourage them to take part in exercise that is fun, when they feel able to.”

The first of the 2023 deliveries have already been delivered into University College London Hospital (UCLH) and Nottingham Children’s Hospital.

Click here to find out more about Micro Scooters, the initiatives they run and the scooters themselves.

A huge thank you to Micro Scooters for all their support.

LEGO Eva and Joshua

The LEGO Group supports Spread a Smile

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We are proud to receive some amazing support from our friends at the LEGO Group through some inspiring LEGO® based initiatives.

2022 saw the LEGO Group donate gifts for our Smile Hampers which were sent out to seriously ill children and their siblings at Christmas time. We also welcomed 11 patients and their families for a special LEGO Masterclass as part of the LEGO Group’s ‘Build the Change’ programme which encourages children to express their hopes and dreams for the future through LEGO® bricks and a bit of imagination.

More recently in April 2023, we were delighted to work in partnership with the LEGO Group to welcome 19 of our families for a very special LEGO® build. Using 36 generously donated LEGO® sets, including Star Wars, Harry Potter and more, the families each took on the challenge of completing a set to be displayed as a centrepiece for one of the tables at our 10th Anniversary Dinner on 24 April.

It was a very special day full of laughter and fun which united some of the families we support with the Spread a Smile team and volunteers from the LEGO Group. We loved watching the commitment, dedication and focus of everyone who joined us as they undertook this brilliant challenge, working together to achieve some amazing, finished pieces.

Laura Walter, Spread a Smile Director of Services said, “Building with LEGO® is such a brilliant way for children struggling with serious illness to find some distraction and fun – whether in hospital waiting for treatment or recovering at home. All of the families who joined us for our centrepiece build event talked about how great it was to do something that brought them together as a family. They loved how the LEGO® sets called on them to work together as a team to build something which will spread some smiles back to some of our supporters too!

We can’t wait to see the centrepieces on display and each one will be returned to the family who completed it after the Dinner.