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Hospital play week spreads a smile

Having fun will be child’s play at Addenbrooke’s Hospital next week.

Because from Monday (9 October) Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust will be hosting a series of activities as part of Play in Hospital Week organised by members of the National Association of Health Play Specialists (NAHPS).

Play specialist Sophie Barber with giant teddy
Play specialist Sophie Barber preparing for the big week

The Rays of Sunshine team will be helping to brighten the lives of seriously young children with their own unique brand of entertainment, which includes Sunny the mascot and a series of mini-plays.

There will be face-painting and bracelet making, while budding local DJ, Keiron Cave, who is a hospital porter, will be giving young patients an opportunity to try his decks.

A pair of ponies will be making an appearance in the Jubilee Gardens while Brook Bear – the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust mascot – will be making mischief elsewhere on the wards.

Firedog and friend play in hospital week
Spotted firing up a friendship...

The appropriately named Laughter Specialists will be making giggles, the Read for Good charity will be encouraging youngsters to immerse themselves in books, and the Emmerbelles will be calling on all would-be princesses to party!

Once again there will be support from local firefighters, Spiderman will be swinging by, and the Toy Story characters are sure to cause a Buzz among young fans.

Popular chefs Graham and Julian will be cooking up a storm, while the Football Fun Factory and the teams from Spread a Smile and Hartbeeps will be living up to their names.

Chefs during Play in Hospital Week
Recipe for success - the hospital chefs

The play team at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) works with children to ensure their hospital stay doesn’t negatively impact wellbeing.

This year’s Play in Hospital week, also supported by CUH professional dance artist Filipa Pereira-Stubbs, aims to demonstrate how play can boost good mental health development.

It comes at a time when the Trust, which also runs the Rosie Maternity Hospital where there will be classes in baby masssage, is powering ahead with plans to build the region’s first children’s hospital, specialising in physical and mental health.

Early designs showing the inside of Cambridge Children's Hospital
Inside the new children's hospital - an artist's impression

Amanda Peck, from the play team, wanted to thank everyone involved in making this year’s Play Week so memorable. She said:

At CUH we never forget that play is an essential part of a child’s development, teaching them social and communication skills to help them explore the world around them.

Play in Hospital Week is an extension of that work, when supporters from in and around Cambridge come in and use their special skills to further entertain, educate and enthuse young minds

Amanda Peck