Some families may be in hospital for a significant amount of time and we want to make that difficult time a little easier. We work hard to make the wards and clinic feel less clinical and more enjoyable.
We fund a number of roles to support families such as Play Leaders who help to distract children during their stay and help them to understand more about their treatment.
Elaine, our ‘Dinner Lady’ is also a role funded by Candlelighters. She is there to ensure children, whose taste buds and eating habits may have changed, have what they feel like eating. Elaine is a great comfort and support to our families, she makes a huge impact on their time spent on the wards.
Following a need for more support at the hospital, we recruited three Family Engagement Workers, Ellie, Charlotte and Joanna. They are based over three child oncology wards, ward 31, 32, 33 and the oncology and haematology day unit. They are there to engage with families to ensure they know what support is accessible to them provided by Candlelighters and be there to help families in any way that they need.
We also fund two Social Workers, two Advanced Nurse Practitioners, two part-time Paediatric Radiographers, three Play Leaders, one Outreach Play Specialist, one Speech & Language Therapist and one Youth Worker.
As well as funding roles, we also provide all of the televisions on wards 31, 32 and 33, an interactive projector on ward 31 for the patients to play with and we provide art décor for the walls in clinic and the wards.
The arts and crafts for the children on the oncology wards, day unit and radiotherapy are also funded by Candlelighters.
If a child is an inpatient on their birthday, they will receive a birthday box. Inside there will be a present, decorations and a cake, which is all funded by us.
Children who are having a bone marrow transplant are able to choose some items that they would like in their room to make it look and feel more like their bedroom at home. This makes their environment more welcoming, friendly and homely. This is also funded by Candlelighters.
We also provide days out for our patients under the age of 13. Previously, we’ve hired out cinema rooms and taken them to adventure playgrounds.
Give A Duck kindly provide chemo ducks for all children undergoing treatment. To make visits to the hospital more bearable for children, Candlelighters helps to run an incentive scheme so that children will receive stamps every time they visit which they can exchange for new outfits for their duck.
In 2013, we opened the Candlelighters Pavilion, which is located in the outside space on Ward 31. This is a space for children and families to use to get away from the clinical setting of the hospital yet still be within reach of expert medical care. The Pavilion was a landmark investment for the charity and offers a sanctuary for families to relax, watch a movie and play games. Our coffee afternoons and other themed events organised by our Family Engagement Workers and funded by Candlelighters take place in here.