Toast on Good Morning Breakfast

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Dame Maureen Lipman and Heidi Nathan appeared on Good Morning Britain on Friday 30 July to talk about their friendship, early morning walks throughout lockdown and the many savoury and sweet recipes that inspired their cookbook, This Book is Toast.


To purchase the cookbook please click HERE.  All author proceeds from sales will go to Spread a Smile.

Dame Maureen Lipman DBE is a theatre, film, radio and television actor, writer and comedian. She was made a Dame in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to charity, entertainment and the arts.  Heidi Nathan is Spread a Smile’s Trust and Foundation’s Manager.


Teddy Bears’ Picnic

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We cannot describe how happy we were to host our first face-to-face event this year. The Teddy Bears’ Picnic was held on a wonderful summer’s day at Coram’s Fields on Wednesday 21st July.  With strict covid-19 safety measures and sunscreen in place, we created a fun-packed afternoon to spread smiles with lots of playful teddy bear-themed activities including teddy makeovers and clinics for poorly teddy bears plus, for the children, face painting, arts and crafts, magic shows and balloon modelling.

There was even a special appearance from our very own Buddy Bear who took part in some fun dances with the families.

Jacob (in the image with his mum) said “This was the first party he had ever been to and he absolutely loved the bubbles!” We want to thank all our fabulous partners for their support – Hartley’s, Morrisons Camden, KP Snacks & Pom Bears, Metcalfe Snacks, Marine Ices and Bregal Milestone who gifted a super array of food, drinks and treats for our children to enjoy, making the day even more special.


New Play Specialist at GOSH

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Spread a Smile is delighted to announce that we will be funding a Play Specialist role at Great Ormond Street Hospital.  Spread a Smile regularly works with GOSH, offering our range of services to entertain and enhance the wellbeing of the children and young people under their care.  This new role underlines the excellent working relationship between the two organisations and the importance of play and entertainment throughout a child’s healthcare journey.

Debbie Tropp (pictured here and above, pre pandemic), from Spread a Smile, who is a qualified Play Specialist, has taken on the role and started last month. Debbie will provide specialised therapeutic play and support, predominantly for 0-5 year olds with complex conditions, many of whom have spent large parts of their early life in hospital. She will support young children to achieve important milestones and provide creative and stimulating play opportunities that are crucial to effective coping and healthy development. The patients Debbie is supporting will be referred from multidisciplinary professionals across different areas of the hospital. She will also spend time in GOSH’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), providing stimulation and sensory input with long term patients who have complex needs.

Lucy Jackson, Chief Executive of Spread a Smile, said, “We’re thrilled to be working with the incredible team at Great Ormond Street Hospital and are delighted to be funding a Play Specialist role at the hospital. This position will enhance the support available to young patients who need this dedicated, long term support.  Debbie has already spent time volunteering at GOSH and demonstrated how she is able, through play, to assist children and young people impacted by long term hospitalisation. This role will enable us to spread more smiles, joy and laughter to seriously ill children at GOSH.”

Laura Walsh, Head of Play Services at GOSH, said, “Spread a Smile are such amazing partners and are always so sensitive to the needs of patients here at GOSH. With the additional support from Debbie, the new Spread a Smile funded Play Specialist, we’ve been able to deliver play and therapeutic interventions for even more younger children in the Intensive Care Units. We are thrilled to be the first hospital to benefit from a Spread a Smile funded member of our team and it’s wonderful to see the difference these positive interactions are already making to our patients.”

National Ice Cream Day

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Last weekend was National Ice Cream Day and boy did we need it. It was HOT!

To mark the day and spread thousands of smiles our wonderful partners, ice cream specialists Wall’s and Marine Ices delivered a variety of delicious ice creams to every child in our network of NHS hospitals in London and further afield.





Spreading Smiles with Blink

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We are delighted to have been nominated as Blink’s Charity Partner. Blink is the world’s first enterprise app designed exclusively for frontline workers and we can’t wait to start working with their enthusiastic team. Barry McDonagh, Blink’s COO commented,  “At Blink we are delighted to join the Spread a Smile family. We are very much looking forward to building on this partnership in the coming months and years to bring some cheer to the lives of children who are seriously ill in hospital. We cannot think of a more worthy charity to be associated with.”



Super Challengers

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We were super impressed with Jacob, Tess and Leni, the children of our partners at EngageFS who took part in The Vitality Mile at Hatfield Park earlier this month.  Proud mum and  COO at EngageFS, Stevie Uddin, said of their experience “The main thing we’ll remember about the Vitality Mile is we had lots of fun together and the kids were really proud of themselves for running the whole race and most importantly, that we helped raised lots of money to help spread more smiles to those who really need them.”

Children’s Art Week 2021

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We celebrated Children’s Art Week during the week of 5th July, with virtual workshops and sessions on different art themes each day. The sessions were attended by the children, teenagers and families we entertain who are all under the care of our NHS partner hospitals. Activities included painting with watercolours, origami, pastels, cross stitch, flower crowns and notebook decorating. 

Amy Crowley, Play Worker at GOSH, said, “The patients thoroughly enjoyed the watercolour session during Art Week. They were able to learn to paint a beautiful seashell step-by-step which gave them a real sense of achievement. Being in hospital can have a negative impact on self-esteem and sessions like this give patients a real confidence boost.”


July Fundraising Round Up

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This month we’ve seen lots of our lovely supporters raising money for Spread a Smile in some fantastically innovative ways. Gareth Hanson cycled from his home near Watford to South Wales in memory of his son, Sam, who we entertained. Gareth cycled the 300km distance in 11.5 hours and raised an incredible £4,234 to be split between Spread a Smile and Great Ormond Street Hospital. 

Our partners at Hain Daniels completed a 72 hole golf marathon challenge to fundraise for us, raising close to £1,390. Charlotte Dudly and her sister, Alexa, raised £1,000 at a toy and games sale and the staff and children at Yavneh College, Borehamwood, rounded off a year’s support with an activity day and donation of £60. Thank you to everyone for all your efforts and for spreading so many smiles.

Thank you to all of our supporters who help us to spread more smiles.


Play Specialists AGM

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Earlier this month Laura Walter, our Director of Services, was a key speaker at the NAHPS (National Association of Health Play Specialists) and the CCLG (Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group) Multiprofessionals Group AGM.  Her presentation focused on our work with play specialists and other healthcare professionals and the development of our services to support and enhance their practice for the benefit of the patients and families they work with.  Our digital services, and in particular our virtual bedside visits, were of particular interest, having transformed the way we work, our reach and impact.

Laura said, “It was a pleasure to speak at the NAHPS AGM and the CCLG Multiprofessionals meeting to raise awareness about Spread a Smile. Our aim is to grow nationally to support paediatric and teenage patients across England and the UK. This was a fantastic opportunity to communicate with healthcare professionals about the ways in which Spread a Smile can help them and how we can work collaboratively together to best support seriously ill children and young people in hospital.”




Join our London Marathon team

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This year the Virgin Money London Marathon is taking place both in person and virtually on Sunday 3 October.

We’re delighted to have so many dedicated supporters taking part and we’d like to welcome them all to #TeamSmile.

Taking part in the London race is Jason Finch (from our partner Masthaven Bank) who is no stranger to challenges for Spread a Smile. Last year, together with a colleague, they completed a challenge to run 2020 miles for 2020.

Simon Chandler (from our partner Opticore), Martin Murray (from our partner Hartley’s) and Claire Kemp are all taking part in the Virtual Marathon, running the impressive 26.2 miles around a course of their own choosing.

And Henry (aged 11) and his friends Finn, Daniel and Josh are running a marathon relay on the same day.

Due to injury, we have one place left for the Virtual Marathon. If you’d like to join #TeamSmile and help spread smiles to seriously ill and hospitalised children and teenagers please email – we’d love to welcome you to the team.

Email to join the team.