How to send a Christmas present to poorly children in Leeds Children’s Hospital

For many poorly children in Leeds, this Christmas won't be spent at home with loved ones, but in hospital.

Monday, 9th November 2020, 11:48 am
Updated Monday, 9th November 2020, 11:51 am

Staff at Leeds Children's Hospital always work hard to make sure Christmas Day is as magical as it can be - but this year they face new challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Play rooms have been closed and other festive events have been cancelled to help keep staff and patients safe.

However, one tradition that will be upheld is the annual gift donations from the public.

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Joanna Parker from Leeds Cares pushing a crate of toys that have been donated to Leeds Childrens Hospital in December 2019.

The giving of donated gifts to patients is always central to the hospital’s Christmas celebrations and it’s become a Christmas tradition for many people across Yorkshire to drop off donations in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

This year, Leeds Cares has created an online Wish List so that people can donate gifts without having to visit the hospital.

This is due to non-essential access to the hospital being restricted.

Jess Barrans (left) and Sue Baulk from Leeds Cares with some of the toys that have been donated in the reception of Leeds Childrens Hospital in 2019.

The Wish List has lots of toys and fun games for the children to enjoy such as soft rattles, LOL! Jewellery making sets, and Toy Story play-dough sets.

There is even something for the older patients, including Xbox One Gaming Headsets and make up brushes.

People can simply buy gifts from the online Wish List, and hospital staff will deliver them to children and young people in hospital.

All gifts are delivered straight to Leeds Children’s Hospital and then quarantined to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Danielle, the mum of one-year-old Otis, who spent Christmas in the hospital in 2018 said the gifts made the day "that bit easier".

She said: “It made being away from home and not spending the day with friends and family that bit easier and we enjoyed our own little festive celebration.

"We were so moved by the kindness and generosity of people who had donated… The thoughtfulness from others really does stay with you.”

Celia McKenzie, Head of Nursing at Leeds Children’s Hospital, said the donated gifts are more important than ever this year.

Ms McKenzie said: "Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, visiting is more restricted, play rooms are closed and we are not able to hold many of our usual festive activities.

"Christmas time will feel very different for our staff and patients this year but we’re still aiming to make Christmas magical, whilst keeping everyone safe.

"The online Wish List enables members of the public to make a real difference to patients and their families at Christmas, by buying a gift without needing to leave the house”

The Wish List is open now and donations are welcomed until 15th December.

You can view the Wish List online: Children’s Hospital will also be hosting two, pre-booked, socially-distanced drop-off events for businesses and community groups making large donations.

These must be booked in advance through Leeds Cares.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic Leeds Children’s Hospital will not be able to accept individual drop-off donations and donors will not be able to visit the wards as they have done in previous years.

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