March 2020 was a big time of change for everyone. Suddenly we were working from kitchen tables, the children were home from school and the roads were eerily quiet. People had to adapt rapidly and so did the Noah’s Ark Charity.
Putting our big plans for the year temporarily aside, our priority was to support the families and frontline staff with whatever was to come next. With the new one parent only policy in force we decided to do whatever we could to soften the impact of that for children and parents. The charity set up a Covid-19 Resilience fund and put a plea out for you for help. The response was overwhelming and as a result we have now been feeding parents caring alone for 31 weeks.
Your support has also made it possible for us to provide Ipads across the children’s hospital and neonatal intensive care unit, making it possible for families to keep in touch and for young patients to be entertained while in isolation. We’ve also been able to respond quickly to requests from frontline staff as they continue to adapt the way they care throughout this crisis.
Now, with winter setting in and the end of the year fast approaching there are three things we urgently need to fund in order to make a real difference to the lives of familes and frontline staff.
We need funds to be able to continue vital play therapy. The Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity funds a team of specialist play therapists like Juliet who work to support every child who comes to the hospital.
The play specialist team offers a 7-day service and will support more than 1,700 inpatients and 2,000 outpatients in a typical month. During the COVID-19 lockdown and restricted family access, play (in its many forms) has become even more important. During the pandemic every child that could travel was sent home – but there are still around 70 children staying on the wards. Many are likely to remain here for many more months yet. It’s impossible for most to understand what’s happening outside that means they can’t go home or why they can only see one of their parents. And it can be scary to see the nurses and doctors who have to wear PPE and masks when they come in to the room. Play makes time in hospital less scary and more fun – and it supports their physical and emotional rehabilitation too.
A donation of £16.60 would pay for a fun play therapy session for a child like William.
We need funds for our Sparkle Fund – which will allow us to arrange birthday parties or just brighten up the day of a young patient.
Life in hospital – especially for a child who is confined to their bed, or who has to stay attached to a cumbersome machine – can often be really dull. Mums and dads all try hard to bring toys and games and stories in to entertain their kids; but it’s really hard to keep them occupied, especially when they’re in for a long stretch of time. That’s why our Sparkle Fund exists. We use this money to bring fun into the hospital by paying for exciting times, visits from favourite TV and movie characters, children’s performers and musicians. We all know how important a birthday is in a child’s life and that’s no different for a child in hospital. Through our Sparkle Fund, we help make sure no-one misses out by making birthday celebrations possible – complete with a present from us for each child. We’re lucky that we have brilliant support from a lot of local organisations and companies who are happy to donate things, which keeps the cost right down. In fact, we can usually put on a really fabulous birthday party, with all the balloons and sparkle you’d expect, for only around £30 per child.
A donation of £30 would fund a birthday party for a child who can’t be at home.
We want to be able to buy a new CPAP machine for the hospital – which will help more children like Eden-Olive to be able to ‘stepdown’ from more intrusive forms of ventilation.
Many children need specialist medical equipment to support them while they are in hospital – but there simply isn’t the money to afford everything the nurses would ideally like to have. We have already bought one CPAP machine. It breathes for children who can’t breathe well enough for themselves, but is less intrusive than a ventilator and can be adjusted quickly to the level of support needed at any given time. The nursing team have found the first CPAP machine to be incredibly useful and, with winter coming, they know there’ll be more demand. With this in mind they have recently asked us to fund a second machine. These machines are a literal lifeline for children like Eden-Olive here and will last many years; but they cost £15,000 each.
A donation by 100 people of £150 could, together, buy this new CPAP machine.