Clown Dr's @ Sunderland Royal Hospital

by The Children's Foundation in Sunderland, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 3rd April 2017 we successfully raised £45 with 6 supporters in 28 days

To expand the much needed Clown Doctors programme into Sunderland Royal Hospital and other hospitals across the region.

by The Children's Foundation in Sunderland, England, United Kingdom

The Clown Doctors programme is an innovative way to offer hospitalised children opportunities to take part in artistic play. The programme aims to relieve children of the fear and insecurities they may feel whilst in hospital, whilst also empowering the children to understand and come to terms with their situation at what can be a traumatic time in their lives. The programme works with children aged from birth to 18 and within a wide range of medical departments. Activities are age and ability specific therefore providing a unique experience that best meets the needs of each individual child and young person.

Therapeutic play is used at a time when children are at their most vulnerable, empowering them in what can be a distressing situation and ultimately enriching the experience of each child’s hospital stay.

Laughter is medicine.

The Clown Doctors are not there to solely entertain the children; the aim is they become part of the support package for each individual child. Prior to meeting patients the Clown Doctors work closely with Play Specialists, Nurses and other health specialists based on the Paediatric Wards. By building these relationships it enables the medical staff and Clown Doctors to work together to establish the needs of the current patients to ensure their resources are best placed. The first 20 minutes of each session is spent meeting with Hospital Play Specialists to allow the Clown Doctors to gain individual information such as age, interests and medical conditions to ensure they are working collaboratively with hospital staff as an integral element of the child’s overall recovery care plan.

Clown Doctors work in pairs and will often spend up to 20 minutes with individual children. Performing arts such as storytelling, music, improvisation and clowning are used to engage the children and help them to come to terms with their situation using humour and play. The programme also actively supports the work of physiotherapists by encouraging children to exercise limbs and build strength and stamina – again all through the use of play.

It is a unique piece of work that is an essential element of a child’s healthcare recovery plan and works collaboratively with the paediatric departments in which it is delivered. The programme is delivered to children and young people of which the majority will be vulnerable, as they are experiencing a traumatic period within their lives as they and their families try to cope with illness, medical procedures and often prolonged stays in what can be an intimidating and scary environment. The programme utilises performing art in its most innocent form by supporting the recovery of both the child’s emotional and physical health utilising storytelling, music, improvisation, humour and play.

The Clown Doctors are local professional artists who have been trained in the art of clowning; they undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check and are specifically trained to work with vulnerable children in a hospital setting.

The Clown Doctor Programme is now into its third year of delivery within The Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne and is extremely successful. As a result of the positive impact that is fed back from children, families and health professionals we are aiming to expand this programme into other hospitals across the region starting with the Sunderland Royal Hospital.

£5,000 will enable us to run the project for 6 months in Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Got an idea like this?

Over £200 million has been raised from our crowd to support the projects they love! Plus tens of millions more unlocked by our partners.