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Fuelling the comforting power of play

For children like Maya and their families, a visit to hospital can be a scary experience. But thanks to our incredible supporters, we have been able to support the amazing Evelina London play team in their care for children and young people.

Whether it’s a creative crafting session, a turn on the Xbox, or quality colouring time, the imaginative Play Specialists are easing worried young minds.

“I’d love to be like Mary Poppins! I’d open that huge bag and pull out enough things to play with for every child at Evelina London.”

Susan Pruden, Play Service Manager

When brave Maya, eight, was distressed about having a canula fitted, a play specialist comforted her and made the procedure a lot less stressful. “They distracted Maya with an iPad, chatted to her to find out what interested her, and made her feel really special,” says Maya’s mum, Helen. “It felt very tailored to her; I was incredibly impressed.”

This is just one of the many ways the remarkable team are transforming children and families’ experience of care.

Thanks to supporters like you, we can all help Evelina London continue to do seriously amazing things.

“People think play specialists just play with children, but there’s so much more to it,” explains play team lead Susan Pruden. “We can ease anxiety about upcoming treatments, distract children during difficult procedures, or help them come to terms with a life-changing condition.”

The creative play team also work with families before a child comes to Evelina London, using toys and books to explore their fears and explain what’s going to happen. They also organise fun activities for during their stay, like arts and crafts or mindful colouring. Meanwhile, older children and teenagers can play the latest video games on the thrilling new gaming carts, which you have helped to buy.

“Play can alleviate any worries and is a natural way for children to pass time and do something that is normal, helping them open up and express their feelings.”

Susan Pruden, Play Service Manager

Thanks to donations, Susan and her tireless team have also been helping other colleagues discover the importance of play through inspiring training sessions.

And they even recently put together rucksacks filled with goodies, such as fidget spinners and stress balls, to distract children and help keep them calm. These bags of treats were distributed across the hospital, and have been particularly helpful for children with individual needs, like autism or ADHD.

“The feedback from staff and parents has been great, so now we want to roll them out to reach areas not normally supported by the play team” says Susan.

How to support work like this

With your donations, we can help the devoted play team reach even more children and families who experience the wonderful warmth of Evelina London every day.