Comedian and TV Presenter, Mo Gilligan opens Play and Therapy Room at St Mary’s Hospital

Comedian Mo Gilligan meeting child patients at St Mary's Hospital.
On Wednesday, 15 May we were delighted to welcome Comedian and TV Presenter, Mo Gilligan to St Mary’s Hospital to help us and Imperial Health Charity celebrate the opening of a brand-new Play and Therapy Room on the Great Western Ward.

The Play and Therapy Room was made possible by a successful fundraising campaign led by Imperial Health Charity, which supports St Mary’s Hospital. Over £251,000 was raised, thanks to the charity’s invaluable supporters.

With St Mary’s Hospital being one of the four major trauma centres across London it can often see children with severe injuries and illnesses. After Covid-19 it became evident that the former playroom was no longer fit for purpose.

Each year over 15,000 children visit St Mary’s Hospital, and, with the ever growing number of patients, children and families need a dedicated updated space.

The Play and Therapy Room, catering for children aged 1-18, aims to enhance the hospital experience and enables Play Specialists and therapy teams to deliver their work in an environment that is permanent, fun and comfortable. The room is vibrant with soft lighting and suitable for play, sensory and therapy equipment; it also includes a physiotherapy space and quiet teenage zone. Care for children at St Mary’s Hospital is provided by West London Children's Healthcare, the integrated children's services of Imperial College Healthcare and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Rebecca Biggs, Clinical Service Lead for Children’s Therapies at St Mary’s Hospital, said, “The Play Space has been transformed, giving therapists a modern and adaptable environment for our therapists to support children and young people taking their first steps in rehabilitation following, in some cases, life changing illness and injury.

“It is a wonderful, uplifting space to work in, enabling positive therapeutic interactions with children and their families."

Professor Tim Orchard, chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "The modern play and therapy space is fantastic news for our patients and their families. It will both enhance the support we can offer children and young people, and I hope, make their time in hospital a little better.

"I'm very grateful to Imperial Health Charity and all the generous donors, supporters and staff for making this possible."

Ian Lush, Imperial Health Charity CEO said, “We were thrilled to be able to welcome Mo Gilligan to Children’s Services to help us celebrate this occasion with patients, families, NHS staff and all our incredible supporters.

“The new space not only brings joy and excitement to our Children’s Services, but also provides a private sanctuary for physiotherapy to take place with those bravely facing the challenges of their conditions in hospital. It will support even more patients, harnessing the transformative power of play to heal and uplift countless lives”.