01st June 2016 Written by Skills for Health

Image: Charlene James.To celebrate International Children’s Day on June 1st, Skills for Health and National Skills Academy have launched a weeklong celebration to honour our children’s health heroes, giving everyone a chance to say ‘thank you’ to those who work in paediatric care – whether they’re volunteers, cleaners, postmen or chefs.

At Alder Hey Children’s Hospital it isn’t just the paid staff that deserve recognition for their amazing work; the volunteers should also be celebrated. They give up their time to help the patients at Alder Hey on a regular basis and devote their days to making a difference for the children and their families.

Charlene James has been volunteering with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for two years and has great pride in her involvement with the wider team at Alder Hey. Charlene spends most of her time supporting families with autism and working with a couple of young patients in particular at the moment.

Family means nobody gets left behind

Charlene explains: “At the moment I’m working with two young boys to help stimulate their movements and speech. Families can’t be with their child in hospital all the time so I can provide additional support where it’s needed; we’re helping to make a difference to not only the child but their family. 

“I’ve always worked with adults in the past but I wanted to give something back to the younger generation. It’s the hardest thing in the world to have an unwell child, so it makes us proud to be able to help in any way we can.”

‘More people should be Lions’

A doctor recently found Charlene roaring on the playroom room floor with a patient. When asked what she was doing she replied that obviously she was a lion! That was what the young patient wanted and it helped them to relax in their new hospital environment. Charlene knows the importance of putting the child first, whatever it takes to gain their trust.

Charlene added: “More people should be lions if that’s what our children need to comfort them while in our care.”

Charlene is just one of hundreds of health heroes that work behind the scenes in children’s hospitals across the UK.

During our Paediatrics Week and International Children’s Day celebrations we will be honouring these healthcare support workers and the vital roles they play in our children’s paediatric care.

To get involved or just to find out what we have been up to you can follow the updates here: www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/ourhealthheroes

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