Posted by Rachel Westall on 29 May 2020
Starlight Children’s Foundation is to provide a bolstered version of its current hospital service to help reduce anxiety for children isolated in hospital, thanks to support from Ryman and their suppliers. Despite the charity’s expected £1.5 million drop in fundraising income, an estimated 50,000 children in hospital could be reached during the pandemic, by adding additional items from the retailer to the charity’s ‘Boost Bost’ service.
Children's wards have been taken over by Coronavirus treatment, children are being moved to new wards, with new nurses, new faces, at a time when they are already feeling overwhelmed and scared. Social distancing is happening in hospitals too, with playrooms closed and visiting times have been reduced – sometimes to as little as one parent for an hour a day. There's a growing feeling of fear and isolation as children's access to play is being withdrawn, making Starlight's individual play items from Boost Boxes needed more than ever.
As the nation starts to have restrictions lifted, hospitals may see an increase in admissions from families who have previously been staying away due to Coronavirus. Starlight partner, Ryman and its suppliers are stepping in to ensure the charity can reach more children by providing additional items for isolation packs, packs made up of single use items to help stop cross infection. Starlight deliver to nurses and health play specialists caring for children throughout the NHS across the UK. Last year, Ryman supported Starlight during their annual celebration of 'Play in Hospital Week', an awareness week to shine a light on the importance of play for children in hospital.
Dr Chris Evans, NHS Paediatric Anaesthetist and Starlight Trustee, comments "These are unprecedented and unnerving times. Across the UK, we're all trying to cope with being cut-off from family and friends, perhaps worrying about the health of loved ones, and uncertain about what the future holds. As an NHS paediatric anaesthetist, I can tell you that we're getting a glimpse of how hard life is for a seriously ill child and their family. It's emotionally demanding and physically draining, day in, day out. But things have become even more challenging for these families in recent weeks. However, with this greater need, we are grateful to Ryman for their support meaning we can reach even more children isolated in hospital."
Theo Paphitis, Ryman chairman says "As we all face new and different challenges, we look to where we can help, and that is why, Ryman, along with our suppliers, is pleased to be supporting children's charity, Starlight, helping to fill their isolation packs and bring some relief to isolated children in hospitals. We all now have a small understanding of the positive impact a little distraction and entertainment can have when we are isolated, separated from family and facing a worrying time."
To help support Starlight to ensure these vital services can continue, people can make a donation at starlight.org.uk/Donate