News

COVID-19 Update

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To donate to Spread a Smile’s COVID-19 Appeal please click here

3 April 2020

To continue spreading smiles. Spread a Smile has now introduced Smile Spaces to our offering. We’re always very proud to deliver a personal touch to all our visits, and that’s now continuing digitally! At a prearranged time, we can bring together a child and their parent in hospital, their family at home and one of our fantastic entertainers in their own home for a bespoke ‘virtual visit’.

To arrange a virtual visit or your own personal message for your child, please email admin@spreadasmile.org 

18 March 2020

Whilst our visits have been suspended, the Spread a Smile team has been working hard to ensure we can continue spreading smiles.

We’re very excited to be launching Smile TV today, bringing entertainment to children and teenagers in hospital. Our wonderful team of entertainers has created some great content for Smile TV, and will continue to add films and clips so please do keep checking back.

To watch Smile TV, please click here.

12 March 2020

Together with our hospital partners, earlier this week we took the decision to temporarily pause our hospital visits, theatre trips and parties. The health and wellbeing of our children, teenagers and their families in hospital is our top priority and we don’t want to place anyone at undue risk during this time.

Suspending visits doesn’t mean suspending spreading smiles, and we’re now looking at ways to continue providing Spread a Smile entertainment to children and teenagers in hospital through virtual means.

Please keep checking this website for updates on our new service, which will be an exciting new way for us to spread smiles.

First Drop of Art Packs

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We continued with our deliveries of art and boredom-busting packs earlier this week, delivering 200 packs to patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital and 50 packs to out-patients in radiotherapy at University College Hospital. Filled with items including activity books, pens, stickers, puzzles and more, as well as some sweet treats, each specially created pack will help to spread a much needed smile to a child who is currently in hospital.

Whilst we’re all feeling the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown, children in hospital are feeling increasingly isolated – they can currently only have one parent or carer with them in hospital, can’t see their siblings, and for infection control purposes, hospitals are having to restrict the number of toys available – they can all only be used by a single patient.

We would like to say a huge thanks to our partners who helped us to create these packs, including Arcturus  Books, Alligator Products, Cheatwell Games, Peachy Stickers, Polybags, Royal Talens Foundation, Shanly Foundation and Spin Master.

If you’d like to partner with us on future drops, please do get in touch on admin@spreadasmile.org  

Launch of Smile TV

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We are very excited to be launching Smiles TV today!

SmileTV is an online platform from children’s charity, Spread a Smile.  Featuring all your favourite entertainers from our hospital visits as well as games and art activities, SmileTV allows us to sing and play along together at those times when we are unable to visit you in person.  You’ll even be able to see some very special magic tricks that we can’t do in a hospital!   Do let us know how Smile TV has made you smile using @spreadasmileuk and #smiletv.

To view Smile TV, please click here. 

If you have any ideas or would like book a personalised message from our entertainers please email info@spreadasmile.org

Valentine’s Smiles

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Spread a Smile certainly spread the love during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day 2020.

Our wonderful team of entertainers gave out Spread a Smile heart balloons to children and teenagers we met on our visits to Great Ormond Street Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital, The Royal London Hospital and Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. Smiles were seen across the hospitals with over 600 balloons being distributed to the families we met.

We also spread cake-filled love on our visit to UCLH, with Valentine’s cupcakes from our lovely supporter, Lola’s Cupcakes. These were hugely appreciated by all.

Spreading Smiles at King’s

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We’re delighted that January 2020 sees us add another new hospital to our roster of regular visits – King’s College Hospital in Denmark Hill, south London. Spread a Smile will be visiting King’s once a month with a team of entertainers to visit children and teenagers being treated there.

We also joined the King’s play team, entertaining patients at their Christmas party in December.

Laura Walter, Spread a Smile’s Head of Operations said, “We are excited to be regularly visiting King’s Hospital. Our entertainers have felt so welcomed by the amazing staff, patients and families already. We are so happy to be working in such a lovely environment.”

Jackie Ambrose, lead play specialist at King’s said, “These visits bring joy and fun to our patients, staff and families. It is a great distraction from waiting for clinics and brings normality to the day. Big thank you to Spread a Smile. We cannot wait until our next session.”

Popcorn and Smiles

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Be one of the first to get your hands on a bag of Metcalfe’s® Charity Popcorn Sea Salt featuring the Spread a Smile logo.

We are incredibly excited to be able to announce a 3-year partnership with Metcalfe’s® which will see funds donated to us from sales of Metcalfe’s® Charity Popcorn Sea Salt and Variety Mini Packs. The first packs featuring our logo came off the production line very recently so you can expect to see them in a store near you very soon.

The partnership will also see us delivering Metcalfe’s® Charity Popcorn during special hospital visits, cinema nights in hospital and at our family events and parties.

We will launch the partnership to the wider public in the next few months but we were so excited that we wanted to let you, our wonderful supporters, know as soon as possible!

Get In Touch!

 

Winter Party 2019

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A fabulous time was had by all at the Spread a Smile Winter Party on Sunday 24 November 2019. The party was attended by over 300 critically and terminally ill children and their families who the charity has met whilst visiting them in hospital. The party was held at the London Marriott Hotel Regents Park and was generously sponsored by our wonderful friends at Lawsons.

The annual party is a very special event, crammed full of everything to make the perfect party. From face painting to virtual reality, celebrity visitors to character appearances, sushi, pizza, cupcakes, popcorn, magic, fairies, music, a disco and arts and crafts – the best time was had by all the guests. One girl said that she loved “seeing everyone smiling.”

Our fabulous suppliers came and helped create the perfect party atmosphere. We’re sending a huge thanks to Baz & Fred Pizzas, Build a Bear, Lola’s Cupcakes, Metalfe’s Popcorn®, Pan N Ice, Spinmaster, SushiDog, TikTok, Surrey Car Meet, JH Video Entertainment, Pop Up Arcade, Walking Pet Balloon and YR Live Customise Printing. DJ Kwame Knight provided the wonderful party atmosphere and the Spread a Smile Choir performed. There were also special guest appearances from Eyal, Samira and Zara from Love Island and X Factor: Celebrity, Delilah Belle Hamlin and Arsenal star Calum Chambers and character appearances from Minions and PJ Masks.

Lucy Jackson, Chief Executive of Spread a Smile, said, “Our Spread a Smile Winter Party was the best yet! It was wonderful seeing so many children and teenagers having so much fun and hearing so much laughter. We know lots of families will leave here with special memories to cherish. All our generous suppliers helped to create the perfect party atmosphere and it was particularly exciting to welcome our celebrity visitors too. Thank you so much to everyone involved!”

BBC Children in Need 2019

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We hope that you managed to tune into the fabulous BBC Children in Need Live Appeal Show last night (15 November). We’re all so proud of the wonderful Spread a Smile Choir who performed as part of the Children in Need Choir. You can see a clip of their performance here.

We’re now in our fourth year of support from BBC Children in Need and we’re so grateful for their ongoing support, enabling us to visit and entertain even more children and teenagers who are seriously and terminally ill in hospital.

We were so pleased that the BBC Children in Need team decided to revisit the inspirational Moss family, following the airing of their film about Vanessa in the 2017 Appeal Show. Vanessa’s story captured the hearts of the nation and you can see that film here.

Spread a Smile first met Vanessa and her family when she was just four years old, soon after she started her treatment for neuroblastoma at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Vanessa loved her visits from Spread a Smile as they helped take her mind off her treatment. BBC Children in Need filmed Vanessa and her family, including sisters Ruby and Zoe, during the summer of 2017, highlighting how Spread a Smile entertained Vanessa and made a positive difference to her during her time in hospital. Vanessa tragically passed away in September 2017, and the Moss family courageously allowed her story to be aired just two months later.

This year, BBC Children in Need revisited the Moss family, interviewing Ruby and Zoe about Vanessa and about their involvement with the Spread a Smile Choir.

Anna, mum of Vanessa, Ruby and Zoe, now works with Spread a Smile. Anna said, “Vanessa loved singing, and Spread a Smile nurtured that passion. She wouldn’t have even discovered her love of singing if hadn’t been for Collette (our choir leader and singer) and others from Spread a Smile. What a wonderful way to honour Vanessa’s memory by setting up the choir – she would have absolutely loved the choir, and it brings so much comfort to Ruby and Zoe. But it goes beyond that – the children are establishing special bonds and ties – they’re so close, love getting together and are all there for each other. Vanessa would have loved every aspect of the choir – the singing, the friendship, the performance. What I love about Spread a Smile is that they don’t only think about the patients – they extend their offering to other family members including parents and siblings which has been so special for Ruby and Zoe.”

Our co-founders, Vanessa Crocker and Josephine Segal said: “Vanessa Moss was an incredibly special little girl. We first met her shortly after the charity was established and she made such an impact on our whole team.  We are incredibly privileged to now have Anna working with us. She has become an integral part of the team and always goes above and beyond in her role with our supporters, who make our work possible day in and day out. Anna is able to give the whole team an invaluable insight into what life is like for parents of seriously ill children undergoing many years of treatment and is always coming up with innovative ways we can help both children and their parents and siblings who are facing long periods of time in hospital. We are so grateful to Anna for all that she does for Spread a Smile and we feel so fortunate to have her as part of the team. We also feel blessed to have Ruby and Zoe in our choir and have loved watching them take part and make meaningful friendships.”

To see this year’s film, featuring the Moss family, please click here.

 

Choir Appearing on BBC Children in Need

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We’re so excited that the Spread a Smile Choir will be appearing on the BBC Children in Need live show as part of the Children in Need Choir.

The Spread a Smile Choir was established earlier this year and is made up of patients, their siblings and friends, who all gather together to sing. They are led by Spread a Smile’s singer extraordinaire, Collette Spinner. They delivered their amazing debut public performance in May at the Spread a Smile Fundraising Dinner and this will be their second public performance.

The Choir has become such a positive force for so many of the children, with them forming true friendships at their rehearsals. Choir members have said:

“The Choir means everything to me and I like singing with the Choir.”

“I love meeting new friends and being able to sing with them.”

“The Choir means happiness to me.”

Parents have said:

“The Choir gives Lucy something to look forward to apart from a life full of hospital and school and not a lot more! She also meets other kids who have a similar life to hers. It also brings her joy and laughter and time together with friends brought together through  similar circumstances and the joy of singing. Thank you so much Spread a Smile!”

“The Spread a Smile choir has meant so much to the girls as it allows them to sing their little hearts out with very special friends that we have come to know on Keeva’s journey. It inspires them to forget the hardship and look forward to a bright future of singing and smiling. They love every moment and enjoy all the amazing sessions that they have.”

BBC Children in Need recently awarded Spread a Smile with a new three year grant, enabling us to visit and entertain even more children and teenagers who are seriously and terminally ill in hospital. We are so grateful to BBC Children in Need for their ongoing support.

We can’t wait to see the Choir on BBC Children in Need’s Live Appeal Show on BBC1 on Friday 15th November from 7.30pm. Good luck to the wonderful Choir!

Gift Drive 2019

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As the festive period approaches, it always means one thing at Spread a Smile HQ – the best party in town!  And this year WE NEED YOUR HELP to make it an extra special and memorable day for the children and families we meet on our hospital visits.

On Sunday 24th November, we are honoured to host over 300 seriously ill children and their family members at our Smile Party in London. We are busy planning the perfect party and we want to send each and every child home with their very own festive gift.

We’re asking for donations of as many gifts as possible. All we ask is that they are new and that they arrive unwrapped and are selected from the ideas listed below and delivered to us at Spread a Smile HQ (51 Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8AN) by TUESDAY 19 NOVEMBER.

Thank you so much for any support that you can give!