Want to make a child smile?


PLAYTIME A CHI volunteer and a little hospital patient having fun together.

Become a Play Volunteer at Mayo University Hospital and help a sick child forget their worries

Ciara Moynihan

Hospitals can be scary, lonely places for little ones. Wouldn’t it be great to help distract them, to take their minds off where they are and why, and have a little fun along the way?
Children in Hospital Ireland (CHI) knows just how valuable a little fun can be, and with this in mind, it has become one of Ireland’s leading children’s charities providing play and fun for sick children in hospitals around the country.
Established in 1970, it understands how simple play activities introduce a reassuring normality to a strange hospital environment, how it is a natural part of a child’s life and aids recovery. It also helps the child to build relationships and make new friends, and above all brings fun into the young patient’s life. Hospitalisation of a child can be a very stressful experience for parents too, and knowing that their little one is interacting and having fun helps to alleviate some of that anxiety.
CHI is now recruiting volunteers to support children and families in Mayo through play. Play volunteers can be male or female, and they come from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures – they just have to be aged 18 years and over, enthusiastic, reliable, have two or three hours a week to give, and can commit to volunteering for a year.
One Mayo volunteer fitting that description is Sara Rabias. “I started volunteering a few years ago and I never looked back,” she says. “The smiles on the children’s face and tears of relief from the parents are the reason I love it.”
If this sounds like something you or someone you know would like to do too, CHI is holding an information and interview evening online on Wednesday, September 28, at 6pm. Successful candidates will then be invited to attend a training session, to be held on Saturday, October 8, from 10.30am to 4pm in person in Castlebar.  
Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a play volunteer with Children in Hospital Ireland can email info@childreninhospital.ie or Julia at office@childreninhospital.ie, call 01 290 3510, or visit childreninhospital.ie/volunteer. (Mayo University Hospital should not be contacted  directly.)
All volunteers will undergo Garda Vetting/Police Clearance, and must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. A comprehensive training programme and ongoing support will be provided for all volunteers.

Did you know?
Each year in Ireland there are, on average, over 325,000 hospital visits by children
For over 10,000 children, this means a stay of over four nights


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