Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice Play Team have been named the country’s Play Team of the Year at Starlight’s Health Play Awards. Starlight, the UK’s leading charity for children’s play in hospitals and hospices, holds the annual Health Play Awards to recognise inspirational healthcare professionals who work to ensure every child experiences the power of play. Play can reduce fear, pain and trauma, so they advocate for this during a child’s treatment and recovery from illness

As a team of just three, covering a large area in the community as well as the hospice itself, they have a significant impact on the children they care for. Through play, they provide end-of-life care and support for children who are seriously unwell and don’t have the opportunity to play in their daily lives.

Anna Lawrence, Specialist Play Worker, said: “We might be a small team, but we’re accomplishing substantial things, often working behind the scenes. This award validates the hard work we put in and shows the positive influence we have on the lives of children who are seriously unwell and their families.”

Sophie Andrews OBE, Chief Executive of Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice said: “The Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice Play Team are forces of nature. The team, although small, are motivated by the core belief that “play is powerful”. Play is key to a child’s development and the Play Team both directly support children in reaching those milestones, focusing on what they can do, rather than what they can’t, and empower the other teams to deliver this level of care themselves.”

Cathy Gilman, Chief Executive of Starlight, said: “It’s healthcare professionals like the Noah’s Ark Play Team who are our real life superheroes. The team have worked hard to ensure play is an integral part of children’s care, particularly with end-of-life care, where they enable families to create positive and long-lasting memories. This Play Team is truly inspirational.”