Three young fundraisers and the Mayor and Mayoress of Stockport were at Stepping Hill Hospital today (21st February) for the presentation of the first Magical Power of Play Appeal Resource Box for Health Play Specialists, purchased with funds raised by children’s charity Action for Sick Children’s Magical Power of Play Appeal.

The three children, Fin Milner aged 7 years, Imogen Lynch aged 6 years and Evie Milner aged 4 years, who are pupils at Norbury Hall Primary School in Hazel Grove and have all helped to raise funds for the appeal, presented the Resource Box to Caroline Oates, a Health Play Specialist at Stepping Hill and 10 years old Joshua Beecroft and Jack Dixon who is two and a half years old, both patients at the hospital.

Val Jackson, Chief Executive of Action for Sick Children whose headquarters are in Cheadle Hulme said, “Magical Power of Play is a new children’s health initiative created by Action for Sick Children and aimed at providing sick children of all ages with access to all the proven health benefits of play, recreation and education throughout their battle with illness.”

Miss Jackson explained, “Due to a lack of funding for play resources every sick child does not always have these opportunities despite the efforts of Health Play Specialists. In a recent survey we carried out, an astounding 94% of Health Play Specialists declared that they spend their own money to provide some of the basic essentials required to conduct their play activities! So we launched our Magical Power of Play Appeal to raise funds to provide Health Play Specialists who work in hospitals with Resource Boxes, valued at £2,500 each, containing a wide range of toys, games and activities.

“Health Play Specialists are extremely valued members of staff,” Val Jackson added. “Play is recognised as a valuable tool for such things as preparation for surgical procedures, distraction therapy, overcoming anxieties, assisting healing and rehabilitation and to minimise regression. Our aim is to supply an essential Play Resource Box each month to a different hospital across the country. We are delighted to present the very first box today to our local hospital, Stepping Hill.”

Caroline Oates, a Health Play Specialist at Stepping Hill said, “We are over-whelmed by the generosity of Action for Sick Children. Play is widely recognised as being valuable in assisting healing and all the wonderful resources in the Magical Power of Play Box will be put to very good use.”

The Mayor of Stockport, Councillor Chris Gordon said, “Action for Sick Children is doing a brilliant job in raising the awareness of sick children’s needs. At a time when the NHS is very stretched it is vital that we all try to help as much as we can. It’s particularly heart-warming to see young children helping to raise money for this important appeal.”