Hello, I'm Claire Joy and I'm mum to an 8-year-old and 4-year-old. Lively doesn't even begin to describe them and they constantly keep me on my feet!
A couple of years ago I found myself sat in Children's Accident & Emergency at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, with a 6 year old who had gastric problems. Meggie was very sick but luckily an overnight stay on Dolphin Ward, IV fluids and a lot of rest meant that she could return home.
During our time in hospital we were introduced to the Play Team whose job it is to make you, well, smile! From the books to distract from a cannula being inserted, the tray full of craft materials and glue to stick until your hearts content and a hand knitted bear (we named it Purple) to take home, they made such an impression on my daughter and indeed myself.
Life changed for everyone in March 2020 and the prospect of a hospital stay for children, and their parents, became even more daunting. Although children are resilient, I wanted to create an initiative to make them smile, challenge their imaginations and ensure that their stay in hospital was memorable, for all the right reasons. So whether you're in for a day, a week, a month or longer why not get writing and talking to inspire yourself and other children.
My hope is that Once upon a time when... will create enough stories to build a book that makes children smile with excitement and joy, reminds them of what can be achieved if they work together and raises much needed funds for NHS Charities Together.
If you're a child and love writing, or a parent / guardian / hospital staff who knows of a child who would embrace this initiative, then let's help imaginations grow!
Let's see what happens when we create stories together!