Arts and Craft Bags
The bags are full of Arts and Craft items, as well as a craft kit and a book for the child and a notebook and a pen for the parents. The bags have a budget of £10 each, they are designed for four different age ranges and they are packed with appropriate items, according to each age’s development stage. The idea is to provide Art Therapy to the child to alleviate boredom and to be used as a distraction tool whilst the child is undergoing treatment.
The project was launched on Wards 31 (Paediatric Oncology Ward) and Ward 33 (Paediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit) in Leeds Children Hospital in September 2017 and then launched into Ward 4 (Paediatric Oncology Ward) and Ward 3 (Paediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit) in the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle in January 2018. We then expanded the project into Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and are currently working to set up the project in Alder Hey (Liverpool), Sheffield and Glasgow, with Edinburgh and Aberdeen to follow.
To date, Fletcher’s Fund has donated 2000 bags to the first three units. The hope is to expand this project into every Paediatric Oncology Unit – that’s 21 units across England, Wales and Scotland – in the months and years to come.
We looked at ways we can support the teenage units, specifically teenagers in isolation. We were keen to carry through our art and crafts theme rather than looking at electronic means of boredom busting and distraction. There are already fantastic charities that support teenagers with game consoles and similar devices.
So we developed a range of bags, that are half art therapy and half self care. We have included some toiletries and self care items as a way of reminding the young person that their self worth is still as important as it was before they became a cancer patient. We wanted to remind them, in a small way, that their sense of self matters, and that they deserve to feel good.
We include a plain bandana and a range of fabric pens or paint, for them to personalise their bandana and take ownership of their hair loss, should they want to.
The arts and craft equipment is geared for their age range, and includes adult colouring book and puzzle book, a fiddle toy, pack of cards as well as the usual arty delights. We wanted to include these extras so the young person could be occupied and relax.
To date we have donated 100 bags to Leeds Children’s Hospital, ward 33 and Great North Children’s Hospital, Ward 4.
As the feedback comes in from the staff on the ward and from the families who received those first bags, we’ll be deciding how best to continue the project and how to expand it into other units across the country.