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ReadWell at the Glasgow Royal Hospital for Sick Children

June 14, 2013 12:34 PM

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If your child or a child you know has ever had to stay in hospital, you will have had first-hand experience of how hard it is to keep them, and their siblings, happy, amused and distracted from the often distressing situation in which they find themselves.

Coming to the rescue of the whole family is the brilliant new charity ReadWell which provides free books and funds storyteller visits for children in hospital. The Hospital Education service at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (RHSC), Yorkhill, is one of the first children’s hospitals selected to benefit as part of the UK-wide roll out over the next three years.  ReadWell works in partnership with the hospital school, whose amazing work in hospitals helping children to maintain their education, often goes unrecognised. Hospital schools work with an ever-changing range of children, with different abilities and needs, in often distressing circumstances, whilst facing the same challenges as mainstream schools.

ReadWell and the RHSC, Yorkhill is delighted that popular author and illustrator Nick Sharratt is visiting the hospital on Thursday 13 June to celebrate ReadWell’s arrival in Glasgow.

Nick Sharratt has written and illustrated around 200 books for children and won numerous awards for his picture books, including the Sheffield Children’s Book Award and 2001 Children’s Book Award. He has also enjoyed great success illustrating over 40 Jacqueline Wilson books including The Story of Tracy Beaker, the most borrowed library book in the first decade of this century.  Nick’s book s includeShark in the Dark, Don’t Put Your Finger in the Jelly, Nelly and Ketchup on Your Cornflakes.

ReadWell supplies around 120 new books every half-term for display on a tailored-made mobile bookcase which moves easily around wards and can reach a child’s bedside. This enables children to choose what they want to read from the carefully selected books on the ReadWell bookcase.

Hospitals seldom have a budget for reading books and donated second-hand books can harbour germs and therefore can’t be kept. ReadWell provides brand new books which means germ-free, so patients in isolation, and at high risk of infection, benefit from ReadWell’s books. Siblings can also borrow ReadWell books to while away the time and distract them from their own worries about their brother’s or sister’s treatment. Parents preoccupied with their sick child really appreciate the consideration that ReadWell shows for their other children.

Generally, books borrowed from the ReadWell bookcase are shared and returned, however in special circumstances children are allowed to keep them, at the discretion of ward staff. If a child is discharged while part-way through a book or if they’ve made a special connection with one, they’re allowed to take it home. Those at risk of infection may also keep their books.

Vicky Pember, ReadWell Manager, says:  “ReadWell believes that, especially in hospitals, reading or sharing a story is a delightful diversion and a comfort too. Reading for pleasure lets a child who is stuck in hospitals travel to other worlds.  Books can distract, comfort, soothe and reassure. For visitors, sharing a ReadWell book can be just as fulfilling, as well as being a practical way to show they carewhich can be far more rewarding than bringing gifts each time they visit.”

Anne Gillespie, Co-ordinator of Hospital Education added:  “Readwell will be particularly beneficial to our children who spend time in isolation while in hospital, as these children cannot currently benefit from our selection of books due to the possibility of infection. It will hopefully provide all children with a great pastime, in the form of a variety of different books for them to enjoy.”


Notes to editors

The RHSC, Yorkhill is in the first wave of four hospitals (Glasgow, London, Belfast and Newcastle) to receive ReadWell following a successful trial in three hospitals in England. ReadWell’s ambition is to reach 30 hospitals by 2015. The next round of applications for hospitals to receive ReadWell will be open in July. 

For more inofmrtaion email Vicky Pember at [email protected]

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Last Updated: 06 February 2015