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Meet Lawren, a BBC Children in Need funded Play Specialist at Claire House Children’s Hospice, Merseyside…

Your donations help to pay for play therapy for children with life-threatening or life-limiting medical conditions and their siblings.

Because of the current situation we have adapted to deliver Play in a variety of different ways. We haven’t let Covid-19 beat us and still delivered some fantastic sessions via social media.


In usual times, Lawren will play one-to-one with children staying at the hospice or visiting for daily activities. She builds a relationship with every child she supports, understanding their often complex needs and providing a tailor made plan of play therapy to develop their skills and give a distraction from daily life.

But of course, the Coronavirus pandemic means these are not normal times and the usual activities are suspended. Many children are being completely “shielded” due to their medical conditions which means they (and often their families) cannot leave their homes for 12 weeks. Parents are understandably anxious and children can get bored and lonely.

So Lawren and her colleagues have adapted their play sessions in a variety of different ways. Technology can be intimidating and learning how to use it effectively was hard but everyone quickly realised the benefits of Apps like Zoom, Skype and Facebook. What game-changers they’ve been! Lawren hasn’t let Covid-19 beat her and she’s delivered some fantastic sessions via social media, including how to learn Basic Makaton…

Basic Makaton part 1

Basic Makaton part 2

Lawren’s working with the music therapist, physio and counselling teams at the hospice to support both the parents and children during isolation. Music Mondays (Play and Music therapists working together) are popular as are the storytime sessions every day.

We have so far been able to provide story times, Makaton sessions, nursery rhyme singing, arts and crafts sessions (like a how to make gloop) and offer some great links to give families positive, fun ideas. We plan to deliver story massage master classes and of course an interactive action-filled disco.


All  staff in the hospice and families were asked to colour or decorate a rainbow with a statement about what makes them happy. Along with some creative escapism from the anxiety of lockdown this gave everyone a chance to really think about what is important to them.

The rainbows were laminated and hung outside the hospice and along the drive. Staff arriving to start or leave their shifts really enjoyed the positivity.

After every storm, there comes a rainbow. A little reminder that this won’t last forever and so everyone’s really latched onto the concept!


It’s difficult to deliver Play therapy at the moment but who could have thought that anything like this would happen? So for now,  Lawren and her colleagues are making light out of a bad situation to help their families and children through this worrying time.

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