A specially designed play area that will help the clinical teams at Leyland’s Broadoaks Child Development Centre better assess the physical and mental health needs of their young patients is to be built with funds from Lancashire Teaching Hospital Charity’s Children’s Appeal, which has just reached its £100,000 milestone.
Planning will start this month (February 2022) on developing the brand new area, which will take over the central courtyard of the building in Balcarres Road.
Staff have already put together an equipment wish list and specified how they would like the play area to take shape. They want it to be fitted with texturally different spongy safety surfaces in a variety of colours with a hopscotch grid for assessing balance and co-ordination.
They want it to have a balance beam and climbing net, swings, which are also good for assessing balance and core strength, tubular chimes and other musical cause and effect toys, a sensory wall with objects low enough for small children and those in wheelchairs to reach but high enough to encourage standing, stretching and even climbing. They also want it to have a wall for balls to be thrown or kicked against as well as a weather shelter.
Broadoaks-based Victoria Atkinson, Matron for Children’s Community and Specialist Nursing, said: “The play area has to be fully accessible for those with limited or no mobility. It has to be a good, fun space that can be enjoyed not only during assessments but while patients and their carers and families, including siblings, are waiting for their appointment.
“We are delighted the Children’s Appeal is providing the funding for the play area, which we have long wanted and we can’t wait for it to open.”
Together with landscaping, the building of the play area and its equipment is expected to cost around £200,000.
Head of Charity for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Paula Wilson, said: “Reaching the £100,000 notch on our Children’s Appeal barometer has enabled us to start work on the play area, which we know Broadoaks staff have thought important for some time. They, as well as the charity team, are immensely grateful for the support and donations the appeal has received from the local community.
“Even though creating the play area comes with a hefty price tag, being able to watch children with mobility and development issues, children who are on the autistic spectrum or who are suffering a mental health condition in a ‘natural environment’ is priceless as it will better enable the clinical teams to do their jobs.”
The Children’s Appeal is aiming to raise £1 million altogether for a variety of items to bring about a range of improvements to children’s in and out-patients at both Royal Preston and Chorley District General Hospitals as well as across other local centres managed by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust like Broadoaks, where children are assessed and treated. To watch a video explaining more about the appeal, become involved or make a donation, go to www.lthcharity.org.uk/childrensappeal