Toy Trust donates thousands for sensory equipment

Rockinghorse has received funding to provide a ‘magic carpet’ mobile sensory unit for the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton.

The Toy Trust have kindly donated £8,490 for a mobile magic carpet unit to be used by children, babies and teens being treated at the hospital. The trust is celebrating its 25th anniversary and has distributed a number of grants to children’s hospitals across the country. The equipment will be for the sole use of young patients on the High Dependency Unit (HDU) and neighbouring Medical Ward. Both these departments provide paediatric intensive care to the most critically ill patients in the Alex.

The magic carpet will assist the Play Specialist Team to provide the opportunity for interactive play, and is designed to engage children of all ages and abilities. It is particularly helpful and effective for children with complex medical needs, and being fully mobile, the unit can provide play and entertainment at a child’s bedside.

It works by projecting interactive games and images on to the floor, bed or table, so that young patients can play and control simply by moving on or over the projected image. The projection can be customised to suit an individuals needs and includes games such as football, star formations, falling leaves and colour ‘explosions’.

Patients treated on HDU are usually ventilated and unable to leave their rooms. The addition of a portable magic carpet on this ward will allow the play specialist team and nursing staff to effectively distract a child from any procedures or situations in which they may feel uncomfortable or anxious. The unit can be brought to their bedside and can elevate a clinical environment to become a place of play, even while the patient is still in bed and may only have minimal movement.

Amy Farmer from the Play Specialist Team at the Alex, works within the Children’s Emergency Department, she explains: “Last summer, Rockinghorse provided our department with a portable magic carpet. The aim was to aid the treatment, play opportunity and all-round hospital experience of young patients being admitted to A&E. This very clever piece of equipment has quickly become invaluable to me as a play specialist, as my main role is to help calm and engage patients who are very poorly or distressed, while the medical team make their diagnosis.

“The fact it is transportable means we can bring the play equipment to the bedside, and its many games and apps enables all patients – from tiny babies to teenagers – to interact in some way. The magic carpet is inclusive for every child, and in particular, we have noticed the magic carpet is great for helping the treatment of patients with learning difficulties, severe disabilities and developmental delay.”

Nick Austin, Event Coordinator at the Toy Trust, said: “The Toy Trust is delighted to support Rockinghorse and the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital with the purchase of a mobile magic carpet that will help entertain so many poorly children during their stay. Big thanks to all 200 toy industry heroes that cycled, walked, ran and tough-muddered for us to raise the money.”

As the official fundraising arm of the Alex, we raise funds to support the hospital, including the purchase of life-saving and cutting-edge equipment, as well as items necessary to every child’s treatment. This year we are celebrating the Rockinghorse’s 50th anniversary, with the aim to raise £500,000 for our Sussex Giving for Sussex Children appeal. To find out more about the appeal, please click here.

Picture captions: (L-R) Simon Gardner, fundraiser for the Toy Trust; Alice Pashley, member of the Play Specialist Team at the Alex; Nick Austin, Event Coordinator at the Toy Trust.

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