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Children’s Charity Funds Health Play Specialist at University College Hospital


THIS WEEK, Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity announces the appointment of its first funded Health Play Specialist, bringing the power of play to seriously ill children at University College Hospital.

As a part of Rays of Sunshine’s mission to brighten the lives of seriously ill children across the UK, the Health Play Specialist will provide invaluable care and support to children and their families both in hospital and within the community. The role will include organising play activities for children being treated on the paediatric oncology ward, using play to reduce the feeling of anxiety, preparing children for hospital procedures, providing support for parents and siblings by developing a solid understanding of the needs of the children and family members, as well as visiting young people in their homes. The Health Play Specialist will also direct patients to the range of services available to them from Rays of Sunshine.

Jane Sharpe, CEO of Rays of Sunshine, said:

“Our mission is to bring joy and hope by providing support to seriously ill children both in hospital and within their community, and the appointment of our first funded Rays of Sunshine Health Play Specialist will enable us to support families throughout their whole journey. Our hope is to fund additional Health Play Specialists in other parts of the UK, enabling us to reach hundreds more seriously ill young people and their families. We can’t be more thankful to the team at the University College Hospital for helping us launch this initiative.”

Jenny Oliver, Acting Play and Youth Services Manager at University College Hospital, said:

“This post of Health Play Specialist, the first to be funded by Rays of Sunshine at UCLH, will be hugely valuable to patients, their siblings and families while attending hospital for ongoing oncology treatment. This post will allow patients to gain the much-needed therapeutic input they require, provide ongoing emotional and psychological support as well as providing an in-depth family-centred, holistic approach to their care. UCLH has worked closely with Rays of Sunshine for many years, supporting patients and their families at a very stressful and difficult time, and this has allowed us to collaborate on developing this post. We are excited and grateful to be receiving this funding.”

Rays of Sunshine children’s charity was formed in 2003 to brighten the lives of seriously ill young people and their families across the UK by granting wishes and providing ongoing support in hospital and within the community.

The charity’s work creates a positive distraction, reduces isolation, improves self-esteem and creates precious memories and smiles. Every day of the year, Rays of Sunshine gives brave and deserving young people the chance to put their illness on hold and enjoy a moment of escape.

Over 6,500 wishes have been granted since the charity was formed and their work has touched the lives of more than 60,000 children and young people, not to mention their siblings and parents.  Rays of Sunshine was proud to have been awarded The Queens Award for Voluntary Service 2018.

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For more information, please contact:

Sarah May Kershaw, Communications Manager, Rays of Sunshine: 0208 782 1171