Posts Tagged :

children

Visit to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

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Spread a Smile has been supporting the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children for a few years through virtual sessions and treat drops, and it’s always very special when we visit the hospital in person.

Last month, a team of Spread a Smile entertainers along with our Director of Services Laura Walter and Marina our Head of Art, made the trip to Bristol. They visited and provided bespoke entertainment to many children and young people across six wards and ended the day at the hospital’s Activity Centre with the Centre’s Play Assistant Daisy saying:

Spread a Smile instantly engaged the children in the Activity Centre through song, sparkles, bubbles and magic! They came in with infectious energy and got down on the children’s level straight away. The parents and myself were just as engaged as the children!”

Laura from Spread a Smile added, “It’s important for us to reach as many children and young people across our hospital partners as possible – visiting in person where we can to provide much needed distraction, entertainment and joy during some of the most difficult times. It was wonderful to be able to spend so much time, not only with the children and young people across the wards, but also with the brilliant Play Team at the hospital who already do so much for the children under their care. We are looking forward to making a return visit soon.”

Bristol Royal Hospital for Children is one of 32 NHS hospitals and five hospices supported by Spread a Smile, receiving support for seriously ill children and young people under their care through in-person and virtual entertainer visits and group sessions, seasonal activities, treat drops and more.

To find out more about Spread a Smile’s work, click here.

Constellia new partnership

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We are delighted to announce a new partnership with Constellia, a leading procurement specialist for the public and private sector in the UK.

As a procurement partner to the NHS and the wider public sector, Constellia understands the enormous pressures the NHS faces daily when it comes to time and resources to deliver lifesaving work. By choosing Spread a Smile as its nominated charity of the year for 2024, Constellia hopes it can in some small way help Spread a Smile to bring precious moments of joy to seriously ill children, teenagers and their families.

The partnership will include volunteering opportunities, financial contributions and providing us with a platform to showcase our work to Constellia’s dynamic marketplace of suppliers and clients.

To kick off the partnership, Constellia’s team joined forces with Spread a Smile and their social value partners at whatimpact.com for a heartwarming day of packing “Smile Hampers.” These hampers, filled with handpicked gifts and treats, are intended for the homes of some of the incredible children and young people supported by Spread a Smile, as well as their siblings. This collaborative effort was part of Spread a Smile’s annual campaign, which this year saw 1,450 boxes sent out to the families we support. The campaign achieved remarkable success, with the joint efforts of 530 volunteers from all over the UK.

Rob Levene, CEO of Constellia, commented, “At Constellia, we are passionate about making a positive social impact, and Spread a Smile’s incredible work aligns perfectly with our values. We are honoured to support them as our nominated charity of the year and look forward to contributing to their mission of bringing smiles to children and teenagers facing challenging times.”

Lucy Jackson, CEO of Spread a Smile, commented, “We are thrilled to have Constellia as a charity partner. Their commitment to helping children and young people facing illness is heartwarming, and their support will enable us to continue bringing happiness and laughter to those who need it most.”

A huge thank you to Constellia for their support.

Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice partnership

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Spread a Smile today announces its newest supported charity, Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service, based in Maidenhead, Alexander Devine offers vital care to babies, children, young people and their families with life limiting and life-threatening conditions across Berkshire and into surrounding counties.

Spread a Smile will provide additional opportunities to the children and their families, with in person visits throughout the year at family events, treat drops and bespoke art sessions.

Spread a Smile’s mission is to bring joy and laughter to as many seriously ill children as possible in NHS hospitals, clinical settings, hospices and homes across the UK.  Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service joins 3 other hospices, and 31 major and speciality NHS hospitals already supported by Spread a Smile, taking the charity one step closer to its aim, to spread smiles across the whole of the UK.

The Spread a Smile team of talented entertainers, including musicians, artists, magicians and therapy dogs, will spend quality time with patients at family events where the Spread a Smile family will invite them to join in one-to-one sessions and group activities, with the aim of spreading smiles and happiness to children undergoing treatment for serious illness, alongside their families.

Children and young people at Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service will also be able to sign up for seasonal Spread a Smile activities such as Christmas eventsenjoy entertainer visits scheduled throughout the year, all giving children and their families the opportunity to join in with fun and exciting experiences.

Gemma Wood, Play Specialist at Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service said “Spread a Smile has lived up to their name with the support they have given to us. Laura, their Director of Services reached out to us earlier in the year to offer their skills and experience to us. Spread a Smile helped to provide entertainment for our siblings day. This enabled our cared for children and their siblings to experience fun and joy together, helping the families make precious memories together.

“Marina, their Head of Art has provided some amazing artwork in our dining room which is in view when you enter our hospice. This has brought a smile to our families and staff faces as it lights up the entire area. Thank you Spread a Smile.” 

Laura Walter, Spread a Smile Director of Services added, “We are delighted to be working with Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service and their wonderful team to help bring a little joy and laughter to the children and families. It’s a very special place and we are proud to be able to share the Spread a Smile magic and reach even more children and young people in the hospice setting.”

A huge thank you to everyone who makes our work possible. Please click here for more on the different NHS hospital and hospice partners that we support.

Children with Cancer UK partnership

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Spread a Smile is delighted to announce an exciting new partnership with the charity Children with Cancer UK, to help improve the wellbeing of seriously ill and hospitalised children and their siblings and family members through entertainment and events.

Children with Cancer UK will be helping fund Spread a Smile’s in-person and virtual entertainer visits to seriously ill children and young people with cancer in NHS Hospitals. They will also be supporting our summer and winter parties and an annual event for families who have lost a child.

Lucy Jackson, Spread a Smile Chief Executive said of the partnership, “We are extremely grateful to Children with Cancer UK for supporting our vital work bringing joy and happiness to seriously ill children across the country.

“The Spread a Smile team of talented entertainers, including musicians, artists, magicians, singers and therapy dogs, currently supports 31 NHS hospitals and three hospice partners. Thanks to our partnership, we’ll be able to reach even more vulnerable patients and their families during some of the most difficult times of their lives.

“We are very much looking forward to working closely with the Children with Cancer UK team.”

Jo Elvin, CEO of Children with Cancer UK said: “’We are delighted to be partnering with Spread a Smile. The support they provide to children, parents and siblings whilst they are going through the unimaginable is incredibly inspiring.

“To bring smiles to the families, even on their darkest days, and support their wellbeing is a core value of Children with Cancer UK and we look forward to working together to bring more happiness to those in need.“

The partnership will launch officially on 1 November and will see Children with Cancer UK funding in-person entertainer visits to a number of Spread a Smile partner hospitals as well as virtual entertainer and art visits to children who are in hospital and at home.

Children with Cancer UK will be able to support Spread a Smile in their growth with the aim to increase their number of partners to 38 by the end of the 2023/24, then to 50 by the end of 2024/25. Currently around 50% of the children and young people Spread a Smile support are oncology patients.

Families supported by Children with Cancer UK will be included in Spread a Smile’s Christmas ‘Smile Hamper’ initiative, which sees seriously ill children and their siblings receive personalised gift boxes, delivered to them at home or in hospital and will be invited to meet Father Christmas in Spread a Smile’s virtual Santa’s Grotto. Families will also be invited to Spread a Smile’s annual Winter Party, on 13 January 2024 in Central London and beyond that, Spread a Smile very much looks forward to welcoming children supported by Children with Cancer to other family events including theatre trips and tea parties.

Spread a Smile partners with Kingston Hospital

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Spread a Smile today announces its latest hospital partner, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, based in South West London, which provides a full range of diagnostic services and treatment services. Their Paediatrics departments care for around 5,000 children and young people every year, including 2,000 inpatients. These patients, along with their families are invited to join the Spread a Smile family and benefit from their services.

Spread a Smile’s mission is to bring joy and laughter to as many seriously ill children as possible in NHS hospitals, clinical settings, hospices and homes across the UK. Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust joins 27 other major and speciality NHS hospitals and three hospice partners already supported by Spread a Smile, taking the charity one step closer to its aim.

The Spread a Smile team of talented entertainers, including musicians, artists, magicians and therapy dogs, will spend quality time with patients in hospital through one-to-one visits and group sessions. Patients and their families will also be able to access virtual online events and activity sessions via iPads, including art clubs, balloon modelling, music lessons and more, enabling the charity to see and support as many people as possible. All with the aim of spreading hundreds of smiles and a lot of happiness to children undergoing treatment for serious illness and their families.

Children at Kingston Hospital will be able to join special themed virtual activity days celebrating seasonal occasions such as Christmas, with a virtual Santa’s grotto, benefit from regular treat drops and entertainer visits scheduled throughout the year, all giving seriously ill children and their families the opportunity to join in with fun and exciting experiences that they may otherwise not have access to.

Julie Morris, Play Specialist, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said, “We are so excited to be working with Spread a Smile at Kingston Hospital. They are such an amazing charity and we are so happy to have them visit us on a monthly basis. The first visit, which took place in September, was truly magical and all the children and parents were so happy, and had so much fun! We had LEGO building activities, stories and a beautiful music session which was so calming and the children enjoyed requesting songs and singing along. 

“The children and parents will benefit from the monthly visits, as it  will really cheer them up and help them have a happy, positive experience in hospital, even in the toughest of times. Being in hospital for long periods of time can be so difficult for everyone, so the visits will make a huge difference to long term patients. Thank you so much Spread a Smile, you really do spread happiness!”

Lucy Jackson, Spread a Smile Chief Executive added, “Spread a Smile’s aim is to bring joy and happiness into the lives of as many seriously ill children, young people and their families across the country as possible. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the brilliant team at Kingston Hospital to deliver entertainment, laughter and bring the Spread a Smile magic to patients, families and staff alike.”

To find out more about our working supporting hospitals and hospices across the country, please read on here.

A VIP family outing to London Zoo

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What a way to end the Summer! Last week we were joined by 18 of the families we support for a very special trip to London Zoo, with VIP access to visit the zoo and exclusive access to the Mappin Pavilion overlooking the emu and wallaby enclosure.

The sun shone and our families enjoyed a wonderful day visiting the animals before enjoying a delicious lunch with yummy cupcakes from our friends at Lola’s Cupcakes. Our guests were also able to choose their own ice creams and toppings from their very own ice cream truck.

Our outings are a brilliant way for seriously ill children and their families to enjoy a day out, away from hospital and the worries and stress of serious illness. As usual, some of the Spread a Smile entertainers joined in the fun including Mr Magic and Paul our magicians, Fairy Betty and Marina and Eva on face painting.

“Thank you so much for today. The children have been really fed up as they have been in hospital for 5 weeks now and were feeling pretty low the last few days. It’s really done them the world of good to get out. Exhausted but happy! We really appreciate it.” Parent

The outing was made possible thanks to generous support from our partners, Downing LLP who sponsored the day. We were also joined on the day by 10 volunteers from Downing who helped run arts and crafts activities for the children and their siblings.

“Being a part of the Zoo experience and seeing first-hand the difference Spread a Smile is making for these families is extraordinary. The children and their families are going through so much, so for them to have an enjoyable break for a whole day was a truly lovely and grounding experience for us to be a part of. Thank you to Spread a Smile for including us, we look forward to supporting them again in the future!” Downing LLP

We would like to say a huge thank you to all of the families who joined us, Downing for supporting this wonderful event, Lola’s Cupcakes and everyone at London Zoo for their kindness and making the day so special.

To find out more about our family events, please click here.