brightening children's days entertaining children in hospital
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Spread a Smile is 4

On Tuesday 11th April we celebrated our 4th Birthday. Our huggable mascot Buddy Bear popped in to see us and even brought us a delicious cake.

Four years ago today our co-founders Josephine Segal and Vanessa Crocker took a team of entertainers into Great Ormond Street Hospital for our very first visit. We visited four wards; haematology and oncology, the cardiac unit and a ward which treats children with renal- related conditions. The entertainers on that first visit included Spread a Smile regulars Fairy Felicity and Adam Ant.

Fairy Felicity said: “It’s been amazing watching the charity grow and develop from such humble beginnings, initially visiting only four GOSH wards once a month in the early days, and now entertaining in four hospitals several times a month with such a great team of talented performers.

“It’s been an absolute privilege visiting the kids over the last four years. Every visit gives me pause for thought, as we meet some very brave children in distressing circumstances. However, knowing that we have gone some way to alleviate their distress that day gives me a real sense of fulfilment. To make a child laugh, to help them forget for a moment that they are in a hospital or in pain, is a real joy.”

During the last four years, Vanessa and Josephine have led the growth of the charity, ensuring that we have always been able to serve our current partner hospitals to the best of our abilities before expanding into new ones. In this way, the hospitals know we are always there to help and the children have learnt to look forward to our visits as a highlight to their week. Over the years, we have formed some close bonds with the children and their families, supporting them through their difficult journeys.

Natasha Luck, Play Specialist at The Royal London Hospital, said: “I have absolutely loved every minute of working with Spread a Smile and all of their entertainers. The difference they make for both the patients and their families is incredible. The generosity they have shown The Royal London Hospital is overwhelming: I know I never have to hesitate to ask them if I need any help or support.”

Since April 2013, we have expanded our visits in GOSH, now visiting nine wards twice a month, as well as visits to University College Hospital, The Royal London Hospital, and since the start of this year, St Mary’s, Paddington. Vanessa and Josephine’s tireless commitment to the children and teenagers we visit has gained recognition from Number 10. In December 2016, Prime Minister Theresa May honoured them with a Points of Light Award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.

On the charity’s fourth anniversary, Vanessa said: “It’s incredible to see how Spread a Smile has grown. We are so lucky that with the help of our generous donors and supporters we are now able to visit over 3,000 children and teenagers a year. With continued support, we are looking to expand to make more monthly visits and add new hospitals to our list, so we can reach even more children and teenagers. Thank you to our wonderful supporters who make it all possible and have helped us reach our fourth birthday!”


Spread a Smile is dedicated to improving the time spent by seriously ill children and teenagers in hospital. We take entertainers such as fairies, pirates, children’s characters, magicians, singers, face painters, authors and poets into Great Ormond Street and University College and The Royal London Hospitals. Our aim is to bring much needed joy to these children and teenagers, diverting their attention away from their treatment, stimulating their minds and alleviating the boredom and monotony associated with sustained hospital stays. Families are often deeply affected by the hospitalisation of a child so we also entertain siblings.  

Twitter

Friday, April 28th, 2017 at 4:01am
Missed out on a #RoyalParksHalf ballot place? Find out how to run for Spread a Smile and sign up for a charity place https://t.co/w9WBBUI6C5 https://t.co/pBbOZKcU4Z spreadasmileuk photo
Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 at 5:00pm
'When I smile, I feel good. When you smile, I feel much better.' Who can resist this smile? https://t.co/TQrU7DBcuy spreadasmileuk photo
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Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 at 4:01am
Seeking new entertainers to join our talented dynamic team! Help brighten the days of seriously ill children https://t.co/bNtOu8eAK9 https://t.co/7o5tTxop2o spreadasmileuk photo
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Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 at 5:30pm
Run a mile, spread a smile. Sign up now for the @RoyalParksHalf on 8 Oct. We still have a few places available https://t.co/bSVQEN3z2Z https://t.co/fOzLCodXxO spreadasmileuk photo
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Testimonials

"Spread a Smile's volunteers were one of the only things that could raise a smile in our daughter during her chemotherapy. Their fairies are angels of kindness, and their magicians conjure away the pain with every visit. It's hard to explain how slowly time passes on a children's oncology ward, but Spread a Smile silenced the ticking of the clock, and remained at our daughter's side to sprinkle a little fairy dust and make her feel for a few moments like the luckiest girl in the world"

Parker M.

2015-04-13T03:17:56-11:00

Parker M.

"Spread a Smile's volunteers were one of the only things that could raise a smile in our daughter during her chemotherapy. Their fairies are angels of kindness, and their magicians conjure away the pain with every visit. It's hard to explain how slowly time passes on a children's oncology ward, but Spread a Smile silenced the ticking of the clock, and remained at our daughter's side to sprinkle a little fairy dust and make her feel for a few moments like the luckiest girl in the world"
“My daughter loves the whole team at Spread a Smile. Because of her and myself I love them too, I always admire the work they do. I feel the words "Spread a Smile" fit the team very well. Bravo to whoever has chosen the name and the team are fantastic. I don’t have exact words to express myself fully to express how good they are. Maybe I can copy my 6 year old daughter by saying they are very, very, very, very, very, very good. I pray for good health to the team and long life. My daughter gets distracted from feeling headaches when the Spread a Smile team are around. This is itself a cure for her without side effects. This space was not enough for me.”

F. Sayid

2015-04-13T03:24:56-11:00

F. Sayid

“My daughter loves the whole team at Spread a Smile. Because of her and myself I love them too, I always admire the work they do. I feel the words "Spread a Smile" fit the team very well. Bravo to whoever has chosen the name and the team are fantastic. I don’t have exact words to express myself fully to express how good they are. Maybe I can copy my 6 year old daughter by saying they are very, very, very, very, very, very good. I pray for good health to the team and long life. My daughter gets distracted from feeling headaches when the Spread a Smile team are around. This is itself a cure for her without side effects. This space was not enough for me.”
My daughter izzy has been fighting cancer for nearly 2 years. She is 3 years old and needs constant entertaining. No charity has ever given or done anything for izzy apart from this one. The organizers and volunteers are absolutely amazing. I have spread the word about spread a smile and I make sure that anyone that wants to send izzy a gift sends it to them instead. We look forward to seeing you on Christmas day down in fox ward. Thank you so so much for always putting a smile on Izzys face. X

Melissa

2015-04-13T03:26:57-11:00

Melissa

My daughter izzy has been fighting cancer for nearly 2 years. She is 3 years old and needs constant entertaining. No charity has ever given or done anything for izzy apart from this one. The organizers and volunteers are absolutely amazing. I have spread the word about spread a smile and I make sure that anyone that wants to send izzy a gift sends it to them instead. We look forward to seeing you on Christmas day down in fox ward. Thank you so so much for always putting a smile on Izzys face. X
"Spread a Smile 'does exactly what it says on the tin'. Their simple approach of showing that there is still joy, love and laughter to be experienced, even in the teeth of very real stress, is nothing short of genius. It is incredibly hard as a parent of a very sick child to be 'fun'-for them or their siblings. Today has taken that pressure off this particular parent and for that I will be eternally grateful".

Fiona Barnet

2015-04-13T03:25:19-11:00

Fiona Barnet

"Spread a Smile 'does exactly what it says on the tin'. Their simple approach of showing that there is still joy, love and laughter to be experienced, even in the teeth of very real stress, is nothing short of genius. It is incredibly hard as a parent of a very sick child to be 'fun'-for them or their siblings. Today has taken that pressure off this particular parent and for that I will be eternally grateful".
"Thank you so much for an amazing day you gave our whole family. We had such fun from start to finish!! All our efforts to provide such a wonderful day did not go unnoticed. Spread a Smile is a unique charity and I shall have great pleasure in spreading the work to all I know in helping support such a great charity! Thank you again".

Natalie Taylor

2015-04-13T03:26:29-11:00

Natalie Taylor

"Thank you so much for an amazing day you gave our whole family. We had such fun from start to finish!! All our efforts to provide such a wonderful day did not go unnoticed. Spread a Smile is a unique charity and I shall have great pleasure in spreading the work to all I know in helping support such a great charity! Thank you again".
"Fiona has enjoyed a wonderful day and an amazing memory of fun times with her mum and dad before her surgery tomorrow".

Andrew Moorcroft

2015-04-13T03:25:43-11:00

Andrew Moorcroft

"Fiona has enjoyed a wonderful day and an amazing memory of fun times with her mum and dad before her surgery tomorrow".
"To smile is the best medicine! Thanks for always making our whole family smile. Love and thanks Winter Family"

Winter Family

2015-04-13T03:26:04-11:00

Winter Family

"To smile is the best medicine! Thanks for always making our whole family smile. Love and thanks Winter Family"
Thank you. We can't explain just how whoever works at Spread a Smile is just so caring and sensitive to the children's needs. Also the charity is just organised with these events, from starting on time to sending photos to the families, to not rushing families at the end as it is 1.30pm. Nothing is too much.

I can't really explain just what a great charity it is and we as a family are grateful that you Let us make special memories. I wish we had known about you when my brother was alive. Please tell everyone.xxx

So thank you to everyone at Spread a Smile
from the Jain Family.
xxx❤️❤️❤️xxxx
2016-12-07T12:12:09-11:00
Thank you. We can't explain just how whoever works at Spread a Smile is just so caring and sensitive to the children's needs. Also the charity is just organised with these events, from starting on time to sending photos to the families, to not rushing families at the end as it is 1.30pm. Nothing is too much. I can't really explain just what a great charity it is and we as a family are grateful that you Let us make special memories. I wish we had known about you when my brother was alive. Please tell everyone.xxx So thank you to everyone at Spread a Smile from the Jain Family. xxx❤️❤️❤️xxxx