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‘Jungle trail’ is wild idea to help young patients

06 September 2017
Young patients at Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) took a walk on the wild side today (Wednesday 06 September).

Pictured from left front, patient Maisie Goody, ACT's Shelly Thake and other guests and staff members who joined in the opening of the Jungle Trail

They were the first to explore a ‘Jungle Trail’, which has been built to encourage children to have fun in the fresh air with friends and families.

The honour of opening the trail was given to five-year-old Maisie Goody from Red Lodge, Suffolk, for the bravery she has shown over while being treated for a metabolic disorder.

The idea is for children to search for animal prints left throughout Diamond Jubilee Garden at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the nearby Rosie Garden.

Children are given a purpose-made booklet and challenged to take rubbings of prints showing evidence of jolly giraffe, happy hippo, loveable lion, monkey, parrot, elephant, leopard, crocodile, snake and praying mantis.

The prints are attached to the top of short posts for the benefit of wheelchair users, and there is a range of other tasks to solve, such as drawing fossils and identifying animals carved in a bench.

A section on the booklet allows therapists to set patients challenges relevant to their condition, and any child who completes the whole trail can collect a certificate.

It is open to any child at the hospital but siblings and adult relatives are encouraged to join in, and bring a picnic if weather permits.

The trail, completed with the support of the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) and the hospital’s media studio and estates and facilities department, was the brainchild of Speech and Language Therapist, Sophie Phillips, Occupational Therapist, Karen De Villiers, and Physiotherapist, Laura Jeffrey.

The Adam Rogers Therapy Team members were inspired after working with patients in the paediatric oncology department, some of whom spend long periods in bed or watching TV.

Sophie explained: “We know that spending weeks or months as an inpatient has a negative impact on children’s speech and language skills and motor development.

“We wanted to create the opportunity for families to spend some quality time together, at the same time as stimulating children’s language skills and getting them moving. 

“The Jungle Trail will have a real impact on the wellbeing of children and we are very grateful to ACTs supporters, whose donations enabled us to make our vision a reality.”

ACT’s interim chief executive, Shelly Thake, who joined the opening, added: “We are delighted that generous support from the public helped to make this project possible. It’s wonderful to see an immediate benefit to the patients. The Jungle Trail is a fun and exciting way to improve recovery for patients and enjoyment for their families. We’re so very grateful to everyone involved.”