A pirate-themed outdoor play area on Warrington Hospital’s children’s ward has been formally opened today by the Mayor of Warrington Cllr Wendy Johnson - the culmination of two year’s intensive fundraising by the hospital charity and its supporters.
WHH Charity launched the Making Waves campaign to fund the new bright, colourful and safe space for young patients and their families to enjoy while in hospital and the children were encouraged to draw pictures of their chosen playground theme during their stay with us.
The fundraising campaign has been supported by foundations, companies, local community, individuals and by hospital staff and included everything from cake bakes to marathon runs to roller skating to abseiling down the hospital’s post graduate centre.
Of special note young twins Reuben and Elena Evans-Guillen captured the hearts of the region with their determination to run 100km in 2018 to raise £500 with their ‘Running4DrOzzy’ campaign. They blew this target away with more than £15K raised to date and in the process were recognised for their achievement with the Young British Citizen’s Award at a special ceremony at Westminster.
A very generous grant of £16K from the D M Thomas Foundation (Hilton in the Community) was the final ‘icing on the cake’ which enabled the completion of the play area; without which the project would be a long way off completion.
Corporate support came from Assura and Sellafield Ltd and in the community young Brodie Carr, the Hope Academy ambassadors and Sacred Heart Primary School choir all worked to support the outdoor transformation; supported by many, many community groups and many members of the public who all jumped aboard to support.
Welcoming Mayor of Warrington, Cllr Wendy Johnson and our amazing twins Reuben and Elena to the formal opening, joined by staff, patients and supporters; Prof Simon Constable Deputy Chief Executive and Medical Director said:
“This has been one of the most exciting and well supported fundraising campaigns that we have run since creating WHH Charity.
"The Pirate Play area is a testament to the sheer determination of our ward and hospital staff to make coming to hospital the best possible experience for our youngest patients. We are so grateful to Ruben and Elena who have been with us on our journey for the past 18 months and have turned out in rain, hail and sunshine to run for our patients – they should be enormously proud of their achievement – we certainly are!
“The outdoor area is provided to try to bring a little normality to our patients and their families and now is a perfect platform for interaction, relaxation and recuperation- this will make a huge difference to our patients and their families/guardians.”
The theme of the play area carries the existing nautical theme on the ward right out into the garden with a splash! The main feature is a large play pirate ship and the colour scheme is beautiful colours of the sea in the form of an all-weather proof coloured flooring by Creative Play with pictures of sea creatures within it. There are interactive games and seating areas; with the aim to have something for everyone – bean bag corners for the teenagers, standalone interactive games and wheelchair and bed access to the garden plus a lovely sensory garden.
“Play has been proven to relax and help with the healing process, a distraction to the surrounding environment for both patient and their worried families could certainly help with most stressful situations.” Jill Holland, play specialist explained. “Providing poorly children with the opportunity to interact and play with others aids recovery.”
Helen Higginson, Head of Fundraising for WHH Charity said, “We are so proud to have been part of this incredible journey - working alongside so many passionate and committed staff, companies and individuals is truly an honour. We are so grateful to everyone who has contributed to making our children’s dream a reality.”