News

Comedy Night

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Oh, what a line-up. Oh, what a show!

An amazing inaugural Stand Up Comedy Night at the Comedy Store, Leicester Square, hosted by leading comedian, Suzi Ruffell  – truly the best night out-out of the year. Also starred Joel Dommett, Darren Harriott, Iain Stirling, Maisie Adam, Daniel Foxx and Kerry Godliman.  Thank you to all our comedians for their support but especially to Suzi for her commitment, positivity and energy.  We hope our comedy night will become an annual feature in our events calendar.

A big thank you also to our generous sponsor, Canary Wharf Contractors.

 

Thank you

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Thanks to hundreds of acts of kindness by our amazing partners, the toy industry and individuals, we have delivered toys, games, toiletries and art supplies to thousands of seriously ill children and young people under the care of our NHS hospital partners.

Thanks to your support we have:

  • Nearly 400 children met Santa in our virtual Christmas Grotto
  • 3,500 children under the care of our NHS hospital partners received a Christmas gift
  • 425 children in outpatient care received a Smile Hamper
  • More than 1,000 chocolate treats were enjoyed by children and young people

Please CLICK HERE for a Christmas message from Santa and our Director of Operations, Laura Walter.

We could not have spread so many smiles without…

  • Individual supporters who donated more than 400 gifts in person or via our annual toy drive
  • The incredible support from the toy industry including Hasbro, Spin Master, Cheatwell Games, Alligator Books, The Paper Box, Hunter Price, Character Options, Staedtler, Aurora World, OTL Technologies, Playmonster, Acamar Films, Swizzels, Playmobil, Grant & Bowman, Derwent Art, LUSH, SEGA Europe and Mattel
  • Moonpig who donated 500 sacks for Santa to fill with gifts
  • Employees of Hain Daniels who donated more than 200 gifts through their Christmas Wish Tree initiative – with each gift matching a child’s likes and hobbies
  • Employees of Blackrock who created their own gift drive and collected more than 250 gifts
  • Employees of ICBC Standard Bank for gift donations via our annual toy drive
  • Employees of Masthaven Bank for donations and gift hampers plus helping us pack hundreds of Smile hampers
  • Blink for the donation of advent calendars
  • Employees of the Tulchan Group who made up more than 70 individual gift bags brimming with toys and chocolate

Inspirational Art Workshop

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Drawing is always a favourite activity for all children, allowing them to express themselves, develop their creativity and imagination.  For seriously ill and hospitalised children art and craft activities also bring therapeutic benefits and have the ability to reduce their anxieties, build their self-confidence and act as a distraction from pain, treatment and the monotony of the hospital environment.

We are therefore thrilled to be working with one of the country’s leading art suppliers, Derwent, on some inspirational festive art activities.  The first of the art workshops learning to draw a polar bear, a fox and a reindeer was hosted by professional artist and illustrator, Claudine O’Sullivan.  Derwent also sent pencil sets to be distributed to all participating children and young people to ensure their creatures were as colourful and inspirational as Claudine’s.

Watch Claudine’s workshop HERE

Charlotte Watson, Global Brand Manager said, “At Derwent, our mission is to delight artists and inspire them to keep discovering. But our work doesn’t stop there. We also support charities that use art to benefit seriously ill children. We are delighted and proud to support such a worthy charity as Spread a Smile, whose hard work goes towards supporting thousands of terminally ill children and their families.

 We have collaborated with Claudine O’Sullivan, Professional Artist and Illustrator to produce a virtual drawing workshop, along with three accompanying stencil designs for the children to follow along to in hospital. This initiative comes just in time for Christmas and the stencil designs represent three cute and festive animals; a polar bear, fox and a reindeer.  Thank you for the opportunity to collaborate, Spread a Smile!”

Santa’s Grotto goes live

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This week and next we’ve moved our operations to the North Pole making it possible for hundreds of critically ill children and their siblings to meet Santa on virtual visits. Our entertainers are supporting every visit with songs, music, magic and fun.

And while they are keeping busy in Santa’s Grotto, our teams are on the road delivering thousands of your toys, games, books and art supplies to our NHS hospital partners for distribution to the children and young people in their care.  Throughout the Christmas period, thousands of critically ill children in hospital will receive a gift thanks to the generosity of so many Spread a Smile supporters.  We cannot thank you enough for helping us to spread so many smiles.  Your gifts will be distributed by play team staff to children at their bedsides and by Santa in hospital grottos.

Thank you to our friends and colleagues in the toy/games/art/book industry: Spin Master, Hasbro, Cheatwell Games, Alligator Books, The Paper Box, Hunter Price, SEGA Europe, Character Games, Playmobil, Staedtler, Aurora World, OTL Technologies, Playmaster, Acamar Films, Swizzels, Moonpig, Grant & Bowman, Derwent Art, Lush and The Toy Trust.

With special thanks to DPD and their incredible drivers for delivering gifts to all of our NHS hospital partners in London and beyond.

 

Smile Hampers spread festive smiles

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What an amazing few days delivering Smile Hampers full of very special gifts to children and young people in outpatient care and their siblings. Their smiles say it all.
With thanks to the WC Hackney Carriage Drivers for their amazing support and the many, many supporters and toy companies that so generously donated the toys, games, books and art supplies that lifted the spirits of every child and every parent.
And this is just the start of our festive plans – we’ve many more gift drops and Santa visits to come in the weeks ahead to make every child under the care of our NHS partners feel special.
CLICK HERE to see our short video of our first festive drops.
“Thank you all SO much for the amazing hampers, Austin and Annabelle were thrilled. Such an amazing gift, and Austin said ‘there are bad things about having a bad kidney but this is one of the good things!” Donna
“Thank you for your generosity and love. Your work is so important and I am a witness of how serious you take it… to spread smiles, even when you might be crying yourselves! We love you very much and wish you a blessing Christmas, full of smiles, hugs and kisses. THANK YOU ALL”  Talitha

House Cafe Company Partnership

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We are thrilled to launch an exciting new partnership with the amazing House Cafe Company and who better to help us mark the occasion but some of the children and young people we support and their families.

Everyone enjoyed a very special afternoon tea at The Riding House Cafe, Fitzrovia with an entirely sweet menu of favourite desserts including red velvet cake, ice-cream sundaes, malted deep dish pancakes with a host of delicious toppings and hot cinnamon doughnuts with chocolate dip Magic and art activities were provided by our entertainers, Paul, Ian and Judge and fun tattoos by our Head of Art, Marina.

With thanks to the team at The House Cafe Company for their fabulous hospitality. We look forward to working with you all.

Watch out for more news and activities at The Riding House Cafe, Fitzrovia and The Rail House Cafe, Victoria in the year ahead.

If you would like to find out more about working in partnership with us and spreading smiles please contact fundraising@spreadasmile.org

POGO & Smile

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We are proud to partner with the charitable fundraising platform, POGO. Buying from the socially conscious brands on POGO means not only will you be given access to amazing deals, discounts and prizes from fabulous products or services but you will also be raising money for Spread a Smile (amongst other wonderful causes). Check out deals for beauty, fashion, food & beverages, health & fitness, interiors & decor, lifestyle, sport, travel and more here.

 

Smile Tea Party RoundUp

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There was such an overflowing amount of sweet and savoury treats, special teas and super celebrations during October, where incredible people switched on the kettle and hosted their fundraiser on behalf of Spread a Smile. We’ve had an array of photos, videos and donations from tea parties that took place in hospitals, schools, community groups and people’s homes and gardens. We held some fabulous virtual baking classes for children and their siblings during half term week and after school clubs. To end the Tea Party month with a bang, we thought there would be no better way than spreading some smiles with a tea party outing for some of the courageous children and their families who are receiving treatment under NHS care. Our partner Brigit’s Bakery helped us deliver an afternoon of tea, cakes and entertainment on their Peppa Pig Afternoon Tea Bus. 

Thank you to everyone who hosted, volunteered or went to a party on behalf of Spread a Smile. Your time and donations will enable us to deliver more fun outings and entertainment activities like this. This includes celebrities Angela Griffin, Nicola Stephenson and Lisa Faulkner and their families who held a Smile Tea Party at Angela’s home to fundraise for Spread a Smile.

We will be sending out prizes this week to the winners of our free prize draw who won a Hatter’s Tea for Two at the 5-star boutique Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge and an Alice in Wonderland Gift Set by artist, Ali Miller.

We loved seeing your photos and hope you all enjoyed your yummy tea.

We also want to thank all the Tea Party partners for this event who made it extra super.

Brigit’s Bakery, Honey and Co, Ali Miller London, Claridges, The Langham London, Rubens Hotel, Lolas Cupcakes and The Egerton House Hotel.

 

Happy Diwali

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We’ve been celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights with these colourful walking pet balloons which are super popular with children on the hospital wards. Our talented artist Marina, also created some beautiful Diwali themed art to brighten up hospital internal windows.

Our wonderful Spread a Smile team delivered balloons to Great Ormond Street Hospital, Royal London Hospital, King’s College Hospital, Whittington Hospital, Evelina London Children’s Hospital, Royal Brompton Hospital, St George’s Hospital, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Christie Hospital in Manchester and Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice.

Here are some lovely images and feedback showing the joy that the balloons had for children and their siblings on the wards.

Thank you Spread a Smile for our pet balloons. The children loved walking them.” St. George’s Play Team

Massive thank you to Spread a Smile for making a very special someone super happy today.” Parent of patient

“Huge thanks again for the balloons. They are hugely popular with both patients and staff! I’ve heard numerous patients and staff say that they have made their day, turning a normal or tough day at the hospital into a special one. One patient, in particular, was very sad to have to be in hospital today on Diwali but this really cheered her up.” Lucy, Clinical Lead Play Department at Royal London Hospital

 

 

Smile Tea Party family outing on Brigit's Bakery bus

Afternoon tea on Brigit’s Bakery Bus

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Yesterday Spread a Smile and Brigit’s Bakery served up tea and smiles for 30 children and their families at a very special tea party aboard the Peppa Pig bus. 

The children enjoyed delicious sandwiches and homemade cakes courtesy of the popular London bakery and entertainment from our entertainers, Mr Magic and Fairy Ellie.  It was an afternoon full of smiles and away from hospitals and treatments.  And topping the vote for the best sweet treat?  The chocolate cake of course!

The children who attended are all receiving treatment for cancer and many of them have not had the opportunity to have much fun recently. The families all expressed how safe they felt at the event, and it was such a special treat to be able to leave the hospital and forget about their gruelling treatment for a few hours. The highlight was being driven back to the hospital on the bus – the kids were buzzing for hours afterwards!

With thanks to the team at Brigit’s Bakery for their fabulous support of our Smile Tea Party campaign.

Feedback about the tea party below:

“Credit to Brigit’s Bakery and Spread a Smile. Helping to create fun and precious memories to cherish forever. We had an amazing time, thank you so much.”

“It was a really fun day and nice to see new friends outside of the hospital. She had such a great time, the magician was amazing! And the cakes!!! And we keep reusing our beautiful Brigit’s Bakery cups.”