Charitable Giving
London, UK, England, United Kingdom


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We aim to improve mental, physical, emotional, and social wellbeing during a child’s illness. Our focus on every aspect of wellbeing is recognition of the fact they are intertwined, and each person will have an independent outcome, regardless of common factors. By making our services holistic, we hope to have more impact long-term and have greater scope to adapt what we do based on evidence from those with lived experience. To achieve this, we have three strategic priorities:

1. Make the experience of hospital more positive

In health settings across the UK, we provide play and distraction resources that make a big difference to children’s lives when they matter most. Regardless of how long a child is in hospital, we aim to improve access to play. Health settings that benefit from Starlight play resources are able to give children an exceptionally positive experience during treatment. Technology will be a critical way for us to tailor play for different age groups and settings more cost effectively. In improving access to play, we improve the experience of and engagement with treatment, recovery and overall wellbeing that lead to better outcomes for life. The visible presence of our services in hospitals will help to raise the reach and profile of Starlight services to core audiences as well as supporting our fundraising and marketing strategy.

2. We create opportunities for social connection

We use play to connect children and their families to others, helping to build support networks, relationships and a sustained sense of self -worth in and outside of a hospital settingIllness in childhood can be an alienating and stressful experience for everyone involved. Studies have shown that serious illness and prolonged medical treatment in childhood can also limit children’s access to education, social activities, play and leisure. This can be isolating and have a significant impact on a child’s development, health and wellbeing. Negative feelings can be alleviated by sharing fun experiences, making friends and memories. We know that Starlight escapes and group trips are loved and valued by families as they are a unique opportunity for the whole family to have fun and strengthen connections within the family and build new connections with others. Technology can also play a vital role in reaching more children and we will pursue this opportunity further to create more social connections across the UK, building a Starlight community that is united by the leisure activities and play that they enjoy most.

3. We listen, learn and share knowledge

We are evidence led and value research which enables us to develop child-centric services and share insight, knowledge and expertise. This enables us to connect and collaborate with others who share our vision helps us to provide guidance and support to parents and health professionals as important Protectors of Play.Through the work we do and the people we work with, we are actively listening and learning so that we can continually gather knowledge and expertise which will benefit others when shared and can influence decision-making. This includes sick children and young people, parents/carers, policy makers, practitioners, stakeholders, and experts in the field– all of whom we can empower to play their role in improving a child’s wellbeing. We will enable play, drive innovation, co-create, and deliver impactful child and family-centred play. We will use our insights to evidence our impact, improve and further develop our services and reach. Achieving our vision requires everyone in a child’s life to work in partnership and to ensure that the child’s voice is heard. We will develop an evaluation framework that can make sure we measure our progress against what matters most for children.

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