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Busy times on the Young Person's Unit

Busy times on the Young Person's Unit

UCL Hospitals Charitable Foundation is very grateful to BBC Children in Need (BBC CIN) for their generosity in funding an Activity Co-ordinator on the Young Person's Unit (YPU) based on T12 South at University College Hospital.

One of the main aims of staff on the unit is to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for young people, who often find being in a hospital environment and away from their families and friends extremely stressful. We caught up with Fiona Eva, BBC Children in Need Activity Co-ordinator, to hear about what’s been happening on the Young Person’s Unit (YPU).

This year has been another busy one, with a wide range of activities taking place on the ward. For young patients the opportunity to meet and socialise with other patients is a great way to build confidence, cement friendships and to voice concerns in a safe and supportive environment. One of the most popular regular activities on the ward continues to be Breakfast club, a weekly get together which not only encourages healthy eating patterns but also provides patients with the chance to eat delicious food and interact in an informal environment with their peers.

Art therapy sessions are another favourite activity. Involving young people in creative activities is proven to increase confidence levels and enables patients to express themselves in different ways. This summer the group has been working on a tropical rainforest theme, which has included painting, printing, origami and cutting images from magazines.

Twice a month citybeat Radio visit the ward and involve the young people in making a radio show. This is a fantastic opportunity for confidence building, as well as a chance for young patients to feel proud that they have created something that the whole hospital can listen to. Engaging and empowering, the creation of a radio show is a superb opportunity for young people to have their voices heard.

Working with vulnerable patients from a diverse range of backgrounds, the Activity Co-ordinators often need to provide both physical and psychological support to young people. One of the ways in which the Activity Co-ordinators do this is by running Mindfulness sessions twice a week before school starts. Mindfulness has been proven to have many health benefits, and can be an excellent way to relieve some pain and stress. Attendance at these sessions has been popular to say the least. Fitness thursdays encourage young people to be active, with boxing and dance amongst the many activities, and Yoga workshops that are specifically adapted to suit individual patients needs have been running all through the summer.

As well as supporting young people whilst they are in the care of the YPU, the Activity Co-ordinators try to equip them with tools that they can use when they leave the hospital too. There are exciting times ahead, with a Life Skills workshop planned for Thursday afternoons centred around job hunting, a Santander money workshop coming soon, and a theatre project with a local theatre group which will provide young patients with the opportunity to visit the theatre group in their own studio.

Thank you so much to BBC Children in Need for their ongoing support and generosity.