Medical Needs Teaching Service


Readwell comes to the Leeds Children's Hospital15 Sep 2015Readwell comes to the Leeds Children's Hospital

Owl men, tame dragons and the Gruffalo are just some of the characters that inpatients in Leeds Children’s Hospital are getting to know better as part of the scheme which sends books and storytellers into UK children’s hospitals.

On Thursday 14th May 2015 staff, Amanda Smith, the Readwell storyteller and hospital school volunteers launched the Readwell Trolley at the Leeds Children’s Hospital when they had a Mad Hatters Tea Party for patients, parents and hospital staff.  There were party activities, biscuit decorating, and copious amounts of tea, sandwiches and jelly.

The charity provides mobile bookcases, custom-made for easy movement in a hospital environment. The distinctive orange bookcases are kept stocked with a mix of old favourites and future classics, chosen by an independent bookseller to meet the specific needs of seriously ill children in hospital. All the books are brand new, which means copies can be enjoyed even by children at high risk of infection (e.g. following chemotherapy). ReadWell also sends in professional storyteller Amanda Smith twice-termly to tell myths, legends, fairy stories and folktales around the wards, beds and classroom of Leeds Children’s Hospital.

ReadWell Chief Exec, Justine Daniels said: “Books and storytellers are really important when you’re a child stuck in hospital. Your world is getting smaller and smaller, you might be bored, scared and in physical pain. Imagination – stories – are a ticket out of there. They can entertain, distract and take you anywhere in the world.  But how can hospitals get the very best, latest and loveliest books to children when budgets are already stretched? That’s where ReadWell comes in. Reading for pleasure can also help children from falling behind educationally, a real problem if you’re missing a lot of school.”

Judi Efford, Higher Level Teaching Assistant with the Medical Needs Teaching Service based at Leeds Children’s Hospital said: “Sharing a book with a child is one of the loveliest gifts you can give. It is wonderful to find a charity that can help us to provide a stimulating environment for the sick children in our care at a time when a little distraction goes a long way. Children miss out on so many things when they’re in hospital but now, thanks to ReadWell, access to good books isn’t one of them.”

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