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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.

 

Euro 2020 Football Fun

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As football frenzy sweeps across Europe we’ve joined in with our own footie fun!

We’ve delivered 750 football themed activity packs to seriously ill children and teenagers in our NHS partner hospitals.  An enormous thank you to our partners at Gold Key Media, Immediate Media, Topps and Kelsey Media for the most generous donations of Match! Magazine, Match of the Day magazine, Topps Match Attax Trading Cards and PES games and Metcalfe’s for the hundreds of bags of popcorn.  All are currently being enjoyed in between matches.

We’ve also created some special Euro 2020 themed films and clips for Smile TV featuring our Spread a Smile entertainers. Check them out here.

Camp Beaumont Partnership

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We’re delighted to announce a new Charity of the Year partnership with Camp Beaumont,  the UK’s most established day camps provider.  As part of our collaboration, we will be working closely with the Camp Beaumont team to raise funds and awareness across their network of camps around Greater London, London and the Home Counties.  And of course, there is much to be shared to enhance the entertainment of children.   It’s an exciting partnership that will not only bring new ideas and intiatives to amuse and delight children in hospital but also increase awareness of the charity’s work to a new family audience.

Camp Beaumont’s fun-packed school holiday adventures take place across London and the Home Counties for 3 to 16 year olds.  While there is no half term camps this year the camps will be back for the Easter holidays.  If you are interested in booking one of their camps please go to their website for a list of sites and activities.

Camp Beaumont has set up a special offer at the time of booking in support of Spread a Smile plus is offering discounts of a full week, day visits, and extended stays.  Use the code SMILE21 to save 5% on a day camp or 10% on a full week of activities.

Christmas Appeal 2020

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On Wednesday 9th and Thursday 10th December 2020 Spread a Smile will be hosting a 36 hour online fundraising appeal #wewillbethere to raise £250,000. The Covid-19 pandemic and the cancellation of so many events and activities has severely impacted our income and this fundraiser is desperately needed to support our virtual services for hospitalised children over Christmas and beyond.

Life for a seriously ill child is always tough but never more so than at Christmas when families should be together. This year, many hospitalised children will be too unwell or too at risk to go home and will spend December confined to their hospital beds and restricted to just one visitor – making what should be the happiest time of the year unimaginably hard for them, their parents and siblings.   Spread a Smile is one of the few charities increasing its presence in hospitals this December and we need your help to deliver much needed joy and spread smiles to more than 4,500 serious ill children at Christmas plus hundreds more every month into 2021 and while lockdown restrictions remain in place.

We need your help to ensure we will be there for Children this Christmas and into 2021.  If you would like to find out more please email suzanne@spreadasmile.org

Our Christmas campaign will fund an action packed programme of activity from mid-December including a virtual Santa’s Grotto, festive virtual visits with our wonderful entertainers, virtual art workshops, new video content on Smile TV (including the screening of a pantomime), entertainment on Christmas and New Year’s Day and the delivery of 1,450 presents to children in hospital and to those isolating at home.

Funds raised will also support our virtual entertainer visits and Smile TV in 2021 to seriously ill children under the care of our nine hospital and hospice partnerships. Launched in March 2020, this digital entertainment has been of invaluable support to children during lockdown, helping to distract them from pain and treatment, increasing their treatment compliancy and, most importantly, enabling them to remain connected to family life through positive shared interactions.  Our virtual visits have also allowed us to extend the reach and impact to the most isolated and sick children, spreading joy at a time when parents believed that nothing could make their child smile.

 

The Art of Halloween

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We may not be able to visit children in hospital in person at this time but it hasn’t stopped the Spread a Smile team from bringing a little Halloween magic to hospital wards.  Marina, our Head of Art has been working across our hospital partners to brighten hospital wards and windows with colourful window murals.  Every image helps enrich the hospital environment and create a more welcoming space for children and their parents.

Photograph: Jackie Ambrose from King’s College Hospital showcases two of Spread a Smile’s Halloween murals

 

Fangtastic Halloween

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This Halloween we’ve been spreading spooky smiles to hospitalised children across three of our partner hospitals in London.  Thanks to our friends at Bregal Milestone we’ve delivered more than 250 treat-filled Halloween buckets to seriously ill children in University College Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital and Evelina Children’s Hospital.  Every bucket was packed full of Halloween goodies including a selection of slime, jellies, popcorn, stickers and sweets and aimed as spreading smiles and spooky fun on the eve of Halloween.

Photograph: Marion Depre, Jan Bruennler & Shafali Gupta from Bregal Milestone joined the Spread a Smile witch and CEO, Lucy Jackson at UCLH, London to deliver Halloween buckets

We were also thrilled to host a virtual Halloween-themed activity day during half term, with over 50 patients joining from our hospital partners and from their homes. The day included an energetic session with the fabulous Body Coach, Joe Wicks, an incredible football freestyle performance and tips from Jamie Knight, Mad Science and Wild Science workshops, Halloween arts and crafts and so much more. One young patient summed up the day by saying, “I loved it. It was the best day in hospital.”

SFC Academy Spreading Smiles

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The wonderful SFC Academy, a leading London based football academy, has announced that Spread a Smile logo will appear on the front of their first team strip for the 2020-21 season.

Scott Shulton, SFC Academy Director, said, “SFC Academy are proud to highlight the work of Spread a Smile. For us to be associated with such a fantastic charity is something we believe will be hugely beneficial to both our club and the children associated with SFC.

“As we look to build strong links and relationships we will be creating lots of fun events aiming to raise as much as we can together. Our focus will always be ensuring the children have a deeper understanding of the important work the charity does on a day to day basis. Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.”

Good luck to all the SFC teams in the season ahead.

For more about SFC Academy see sfcacademy.com/ 

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.

 

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