Helping sick children have fun

A children’s charity which provides play and fun for sick children in hospitals is seeking play volunteers to help out at University Hospital Galway.

Children in Hospital Ireland, now in its 50th year and one of Ireland’s leading children’s charities, is appealing to people aged over 18 years to consider applying.

“We welcome and encourage applications from men and women, from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures,” says a spokesperson for the organisation.

“All we ask is that volunteers are aged 18 years and over, enthusiastic, caring, reliable and have two to three hours per week to give and be prepared to sign up for a year. Our upcoming information and interview session will take place on Wednesday 26th February at 6pm in Galway.” For venue details telephone (01 ) 2903510.

All volunteers will undergo Garda vetting. A comprehensive training programme will be provided for volunteers, as well as ongoing support. Successful candidates will be invited to attend a training session in Galway on Saturday March 7 from 10am to 4pm.

Hospitalisation can be a very stressful experience for both children and parents, according to Children in Hospital Ireland. “Play helps to alleviate some of that trauma. Simple play activities introduce a reassuring normality to a strange hospital environment.

“It is a natural part of a child’s life and aids recovery. It also helps the child to build relationships and make new friends, and above all brings fun into the child’s life.”

Play volunteers recommend getting involved with the charity, saying it benefits not only the children but the volunteers, too. “Some people ask: ‘Is it not really sad?’ but I have never come out feeling sad because the kids are so happy,” says Orlaith Woodley, a play volunteer in Dublin.

“It’s such a nice thing to do. You actually feel great after it, and so do they. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer with Children in Hospital Ireland email [email protected] or telephone (01 ) 2903510 or log on to www.childreninhospital.ie/volunteers The organisers ask that people do not contact the hospital directly for information.

 

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