B&C Awards raise over £25,000

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The 2024 Bridging & Commercial (B&C) Awards, sponsored by West One took place on 6 June at the Hurlingham Club, with Spread a Smile delighted to be the official charity partner for the second year running.

It was an incredible event celebrating individuals and organisations across the specialist finance industry. The theme of Alice in Wonderland created a beautiful and engaging backdrop for proceedings.

During the awards, Paresh Raja, CEO of Market Financial Solutions (MFS), promised to match the donations made at the Awards, bringing the total raised for Spread a Smile to over £25,000.

Paresh Raja, CEO of MFS, said: “It’s so important that events like this, as well as celebrating the great and good of the industry, also support worthwhile causes and charities. The B&C Awards have consistently done that over the years, with Spread a Smile having been the partner of choice for the past two years. So, thanks go to the B&C team and, of course, to all those who donated on the night – it’s great that we’ve collectively manage to raise such a healthy sum for this wonderful charity. No doubt that money will further the amazing work everyone at Spread a Smile is doing.”

A huge thank you to Paresh and everyone involved in the awards and on the day for their support and kindness, helping us to bring joy and laughter to seriously ill and hospitalised children and their families during long hospital stays.

Lucy Jackson, Spread a Smile Chief Executive attended the awards saying, “An enormous thank you to the B&C Awards for having us back for a second year and to our partner and event sponsor, West One and to all those who bid on the silent auction and donated so generously. We are incredibly grateful to Paresh at MFS for his generosity. It was an incredible moment during the awards ceremony when he told me he’d be matching however much was raised on the day! All funds raised will support our work, spreading smiles to seriously ill children in hospital.”

In total, 750 guests attended, and 27 winners were announced in the bridging, commercial, development, and BTL mortgage markets. A special mention to our long-term supporter Danny Waters, CEO at Enra Specialist Finance who won the Outstanding Contribution Award. Read more about the Awards and winners here.

Our new Director of Strategy and Operations

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We are delighted to welcome Roxane Caplan to the Spread a Smile family as our new Director of Strategy and Operations. Roxane will be working closely with our Chief Executive and Director of Services to drive the charity’s strategic growth plans, whilst ensuring we maintain our high level of service and reach as many seriously ill children and young people across the country as possible. 

Roxane joins us with over 20 years’ work experience gained in both private and voluntary sectors, spanning marketing and fundraising, campaigns and communications, operations, service development and delivery, strategy and change management and senior leadership. Her last few roles have focused on helping small to medium sized charities grow, developing new organisational strategies with service users at the core, growing reach and impact. Most recently, Roxane’s role as Head of Services for the charity YoungMinds saw her transform their service structure, practice, and processes, enabling greater reach and growth.

Roxane said, “I am passionate about supporting children and their families and feel privileged to work for a charity that is dedicated to supporting seriously ill children and young people, either during hospital stays or at home through its range of brilliant services.  

“During my first week at Spread a Smile, I was lucky enough to be able to join a visit to Great Ormond Street Hospital with charity Co-Founder Josephine Segal, and magician Paul. I witnessed the joy their work brought to a diverse range of children, some as young as 18 months, facilitating socialisation and connection, creating happy moments and memories with their families. Within minutes of meeting our team, I saw children smile and relax despite the obvious pain and challenging circumstances they find themselves in. I could see the obvious difference Spread a Smile was making, improving wellbeing and self-esteem and making hospital stays less isolating and frightening.

“I am very much looking forward to working with the brilliant Spread a Smile team to see how we can do even more to help and support when and where we are needed most.” 

Lucy Jackson, Spread a Smile Chief Executive said, “The demand for Spread a Smile’s services is forever growing and it is our aim to be there for as many families who need us as possible. We are delighted that Roxane has joined us to help us do just that and to ensure that we continue to grow, achieve and succeed, fulfilling our charitable aims to the highest possible standard.”

Welcome to the Spread a Smile family Roxane.

Join our team! Spread a Smile is also currently recruiting for a Community Fundraising Manager and a Trusts Fundraising Manager.

If you are a professional entertainer and interested in joining our team, please click here for further information on the role and our online application form. We would love to hear from you!

Tickets on sale for the 24-Hour musical

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Tickets are now on sale for the brilliant 24-hour Musical in aid of Spread a Smile at the Centenary Theatre, Berkhamsted School.

This exciting project from Smash Arts Theatre Company will see a talented cast of young performers meet at 6.30pm on Friday 16 February to find out the well-known musical they will be performing the following evening. They will then spend the next 24 hours rehearsing, before taking to the stage just 24 hours later on Saturday 17 February to perform their musical for the first time together.

The initiative has attracted a huge amount of support, including Spread a Smile entertainer and musical performer Joanna Power, Joe Bishop who recently finished playing Bob Crew in Jersey Boys in the West End and Harry Jack who starred in Les Misérables.

Joe Bishop said, “I am unbelievably excited and terrified in equal measure to take part in this 24 Hour Musical. This will be an immense challenge but knowing that we are contributing to the wonderful impact that Spread a Smile has on young lives will get me through it. Even if I’m sleep deprived, forget all my lines and fall flat on my face, I am so proud to be part of this experience.”

Harry Jack said, “I am so excited to be taking part in this for Spread a Smile! It’s a mammoth challenge that’s unlike anything a lot of us have done before, and I cannot wait to sink my teeth into this crazy 24 hours.”

The cast members are not only generously giving up their time and sharing their talents but are also fundraising for Spread a Smile to help support our work spreading smiles to seriously ill children, young people and their families.

We are incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew, Berkhamsted School, everyone at Smash Arts Theatre Company and in particular their co-founders Dani Acors and Alex Williams for their support and dedication. Dani is also part of the Spread a Smile team of entertainers, regularly using her performing talents to spread smiles across Spread a Smile’s hospital and hospice partners.

“When we thought of the idea for the 24-hour musical we knew we wanted it to be something very special, for everyone involved. Which is why we chose Spread a Smile as the beneficiary charity. I’ve seen first-hand just how important their work is bringing a little bit of joy and happiness to really seriously ill children and young people. I’m so excited about seeing our performers work together to create something amazing for the stage whilst also supporting this brilliant cause.” Dani Acors, Smash Arts Theatre Company Co-founder

Tickets are on sale here for £20 each and we hope you’ll join us for what looks set to be a brilliant night!

Performance date: Saturday 17 February

Venue: Centenary Theatre, Berkhamsted School, King’s Road, Berkhamsted, HP4 3BG

Doors open: 6.45pm, show starts 7.30pm

Spread a Smile Smile Hampers 2022

Smile Hamper Delivery Day

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Smile Hamper Day 2022!

On Saturday, we headed out across London to deliver 700 personalised Smile Hampers to seriously ill children and their siblings.

Each Smile Hamper was packed full of gifts kindly donated by our wonderful supporters and hand-picked with each child in mind.

Our Spread a Smile Fairies and Entertainers personally delivered each Hamper, spreading joy and laughter to the families we support.

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated presents this year and to the amazing drivers from WC Hackney Carriage Drivers for giving up their time for the deliveries.

As one parent said: ‘”Thank you so much. We were so shocked and my son loved it all. You can see how happy he is. Thank you for everything.”

If you would like to register to find out more about our Services and how you can access them, please sign up for our Family Newsletter here.

Festive Football Match

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They think it’s all over – it is now!

An enormous thank you to Enra Specialist Finance and MT Finance UK. Their charity football match turned into a major fundraising event for Spread a Smile and Great Ormond Street Hospital raising a sporty £17,000 through pledges and match funding.

And the score? We’ll let the teams share their individual performances and regale friends and family with tales of sporting prowess! Needless to say we feel like the biggest winners.

Thank you to all our friends at Enra who continue to support Spread a Smile in all their charity endeavours – including Christmas Jumper Day.

We look forward to working with you to spread more smiles in 2022.

An incredible achievement for all involved. Thank you.

BBC London News feature

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We were so proud to be featured on BBC London News earlier this week.  This piece was shot at Riding House Café at tea party attended by 15 young patients and their families to mark the launch of our partnership with House Café Company

CLICK HERE to watch the clip.  An enormous thank you to Elise and Ruby, two remarkable young ladies who we’ve had the pleasure and privilege of supporting through their treatment.

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.


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



BLSA RAG’s Halloween fundraiser

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We are thrilled to have been selected as one of the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry RAG’s charity partners for this academic year.  The BLSA RAG kicked off their fundraising in October with a ghost tour around London hostelries and a spooky Halloween Maze.  The students never do anything by halves and we look forward to working with them on their wild and wacky initiatives in support of children in hospital.

“As medical and dental students we often see the impact that a hospital environment can have on children. Poorly children and their families already have so much to deal with, we can imagine how an element of play and entertainment could make all the difference to their day and make things just a little bit more bearable. The projects run by Spread a Smile provide this for the children and is something we cannot wait.”  Annie Mae Wrigth, BLSA RAG Officer

To discuss your RAG partnership please email us at fundraising@spreadasmile.org 

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.”