An NHS charity is celebrating a first milestone in its appeal to raise £150,000 for much-needed play equipment for the borough’s sickest children.
The Power of Play appeal will fund playgrounds, therapeutic areas and resources for Croydon Hospital new children’s unit – and has now reached over £50,000, a third of its target.
Sarah Mclaggan, Head of Nursing for Children’s Services, said: “Reaching the first of our fundraising milestones feels like a huge step forward for our Power of Play appeal.
Studies show that play in hospital enables children and young people to be happier and can even reduce feelings of pain and stress, so we’re doing everything we can to make our new children’s unit the most play-friendly place it can be.
“With two bespoke playgrounds, designed with kids, for kids, a much-needed chill-out space for teenagers undergoing cancer treatment or surgery and a sensory room offering a calming place for young people with additional needs, these often overlooked facilities really can make all the difference.
We’re excited to open them up to Croydon’s young patients alongside the unit in the Spring.”
Freddie, aged two, is one patient for whom play is a vital part of his development and treatment.
But like 1 in 10 young people in Croydon, he suffers with a respiratory condition that makes his breathing more difficult and has resulted in three hospital admissions in the past year.
Freddie’s mum Amy said: “Freddie is a really active little boy, he’s always running around and playing at home and in the park with other children.
“Being in hospital with a two-year-old is never easy and he has to spend a lot of time in a bed, which is obviously frustrating for an energetic toddler. We’re keen to keep him distracted, but without any play equipment or somewhere for him to enjoy himself for a moment, it’s even more of a challenge.
“Having access to playgrounds and somewhere he can interact with other children would make a real difference and make the time pass so much more quickly for us. The power of play appeal sounds fantastic and we can’t wait to see the new playgrounds.
“We hope the local community supports the appeal to bring joy to Croydon’s children.”
The charity is dedicated to helping the Trust deliver the best possible hospital experience to patients by funding areas such as play which are not covered by statutory NHS funding.
Laura Kennedy, fundraising and grants manager for Croydon’s NHS charity added: “£50,000 is a great achievement and we’re incredibly thankful to all of the companies and local people who have helped us to get this far.
“From boxing matches and sky dives through to supermarket tokens and corporate support, our fundraisers are pulling out all of the stops to help us in our ambition to provide the best possible facilities for Croydon’s sickest children.
“We still have another £100,000 to raise before the unit opens in Spring, so we’d love everyone in Croydon to get involved and help us bring the joy of play to little ones undergoing hospital treatment.”
The state of the art children’s unit will provide integrated care for up to 52,000 young people in Croydon who require NHS care every year.
The facility will bring together children’s wards alongside dedicated children’s critical care and children’s cancer facilities, so that for the first time ever care can be provided closer to home for even more of the borough’s sickest children.
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