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Starlight charity donates Fun Centres to RD&E children’s ward


Paediatric patients at the Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust are benefiting from the donation of nine Fun centres – mobile entertainment units incorporating  Nintendo Wii consoles, four Nintendo DSi’s, DVD/ Blu-ray player, internet access and a flat screen TV – by the national charity Starlight Children’s Foundation.


The new Fun Centres, which were created in consultation with sick children and hospital staff, were designed by world renowned furniture designer Tim Gosling. They can be used to provide entertainment and distraction to children and young people undergoing treatment and combine an engaging and innovative design with the latest technology. 


Pictured from L-R: Henny Breakwell of Starlight, Ana Boyko aged 9, a patient on Bramble ward, and RD&E Play Specialist Cara Bennett
Starlight Donation

RD&E Play Specialist, Cara Bennett, said, “The new Starlight Fun Centres are a great addition to the fun resources we are able to give young people treated at our hospital. The units give patients and their families something to entertain them during an often difficult and stressful time. 


“A big advantage of the Fun Centres is that they can also be used in treatment; they can be moved easily into a clinical space to provide a distraction to a child that is restricted to their bed on account of their treatment, for example chemotherapy or blood transfusion; and they also can be used to motivate children that need controlled exercise to aid their rehabilitation and speed up recovery.


We are incredibly grateful to Starlight for providing us with these units which will help us improve patient experience for children.” 


Starlight will be sending twenty-four Fun Centres in total to hospitals and hospices across Devon, which will benefit poorly children throughout the region. One of the Fun Centres donated to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital was kindly sponsored by Heart Radio as part of its inaugural Have A Heart Appeal 2011. 


A recent study conducted by Starlight in conjunction with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust demonstrated the benefits of play, with 62% of children feeling no pain or little pain when being distracted during a painful medical procedure.  In addition to highlighting the general efficacy of distraction therapy on children when undergoing treatment, the research audit also indicated that 80% of children rated the Fun Centre as good to excellent in achieving its aim of distracting them when it was used as a tool by the Play Specialist. 


Neil Swan, Chief Executive, Starlight Children’s Foundation, said, “This is a remarkable day for Starlight and its supporters as we welcome in a new era of distraction therapy.  We are very proud to launch the new Fun Centres, which will provide medical staff with a brilliant distraction tool and sick kids in every children’s ward in the country with a way to forget their pain and fear and better respond to their treatment.”

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