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Mood Bears

The paediatric wards at St Peter’s Hospital have received a first delivery of 90 Mood Bears which were donated by members of the public through a fundraiser, launched by Christmas website ‘Jolly Festive’. These bears will be given to the children and young person patients in the hospital, as well as the siblings and children of long-stay patients during the festive season.

Hannah Bartlett and sister Jo Beker, co-founders of ‘Jolly Festive’, launched the fundraising campaign as they knew that a Mood Bear would be the perfect companion for young patients at what may be a difficult time, providing physical support as well as helping children to understand and talk about their feelings.

Hannah Spencer, Head of Nursing - Women’s Health and Paediatric Division, is extremely supportive of the campaign to sponsor these bears for the paediatric inpatients and relatives of long-stay patients at St Peter’s, and immediately fell in love with the idea.

Hannah Spencer said: “Hospital stays can be a stressful time for children and young people for both those in hospital and the siblings who are separated from them at home. Years of evidence have shown the therapeutic power of play in the path for recovery. The voice of children and young people is a very powerful and important tool in this journey, and for siblings to help them feel involved in a time that can be uncertain. To have a bear to share their hopes, dreams and worries with is an incredible opportunity to give them back some control at a time where they can often feel it has been taken away. This will be an incredible opportunity to give a lasting gift to our children and young people. If we are honest, we could probably all do with a mood bear in our lives.”

Mood Bears were created by Jo Proud from a night-time doodle she created when she was struggling with her mental health, which she then decided to have made. There are now eight in the collection with each bear representing a different feeling, emotion or mood; happy, love, nervous, silly, sad, hope, angry and calm.

The bears are already being used to support hundreds of children in other hospitals such as Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Leicester Royal Infirmary.

The two sisters chose Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, as Hannah has a personal connection after having her children at St Peter’s Hospital and has received a great deal of support from the children’s wards over the years, and sister Jo works with young children and understands first-hand the importance of helping young people articulate their emotions.

Hannah Bartlett said: “Jo and I are passionate about spreading festive cheer far and wide, and through Jolly Festive we love to celebrate and champion amazing grassroots community projects around the country. As soon as we met Jo Proud and her team of Mood Bears, we knew the bears had the potential to bring much support and reassurance to those struggling with very big feelings and emotions, and so we were thrilled to initiate a fundraising project of our own! To facilitate the introduction of these cuddly teddies for children at Ashford and St Peter’s is a true privilege and we have been touched by the fantastic support we’ve received from the local community, as well as the team at the hospital. It’s so wonderful to be able to give back and help share the cuddly love for Christmas 2021 and beyond.”

If you would like to sponsor a Mood Bear for the Trust, you can do so by visiting the ‘Jolly Festive’ website.