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Charity which supports families of children at St George’s Hospital celebrates 18th birthday

By Davina Hyde

A charity which was originally set up to provide a freezer and ice lollies on a hospital ward to soothe mouth ulcers for children undergoing chemotherapy, is celebrating its 18th birthday..

St George’s Hospital’s paediatric teams welcomed the Momentum charity to celebrate the charity’s 18th anniversary at its children’s wards in Tooting.

The charity’s mascot provided a welcome morale lift to the children with cancer and other long-term health problems on the hospital’s wards.

Momentum children’s charity offers support to families with seriously ill children, such as music therapy for children struggling to express their emotions about diagnosis, specialist bereavement support for grief-stricken parents, and respite breaks for families in need of precious time together when a traditional holiday is not possible.

Naomi Oldrieve, paediatric oncology clinical nurse specialist at St George’s, said: “Our team at St George’s work hard to provide the best clinical and medical care and, while we try to, we don’t always have as much time as we’d like to spend children and their families.

“The Momentum family support worker is brilliant at picking this up, ensuring that families can have a chat and switch off from talking about treatment programmes, procedures and prognoses.

“Momentum ensures these families can access information and psychological support when they need it, and in an efficient way.

“They do an amazing job at supporting not only the entire family but at supporting us on the ward, too.

“We frequently see character visits to the ward which Momentum have arranged and this makes a huge difference to our day.”

The Momentum children’s charity has grown into a team of 24 employees, who support more than 1,000 people across more than 320 families.

The charity now partners with nine hospitals across South-west London, Surrey and Sussex.

As well as their counselling, creative therapies, special experiences and respite breaks, they also improve the environment for children treated in hospitals with children’s ward refurbishments, transforming clinical areas into bright, child-friendly spaces.

St George’s paediatric services have been rated Outstanding by the CQC, treating more than 130,000 children every year, and their partnership with Momentum means pressure is taken off doctors and nurses by the charity’s family support workers on the wards, spending time with families in need of someone to talk to.

Pictured top: Momentum’s mascot celebrates the 18th birthday with staff (Picture: Momentum Children’s Charity)

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