Spread a Smile aims to raise £1.4m this year with the help of specialist finance industry

On Thursday 13th April, members of the Medianett Publishing team attended a fun day hosted by charity Spread a Smile, which saw some of the seriously ill children it supports and their families working on projects which will feature at its fundraising gala this month.

The annual dinner — sponsored by specialist lender Spring Finance — will host around 380 people at the Nobu Hotel in Portman Square on Monday 24th April.

Commenting on what the charity provides, Josephine Segal, co-founder of Spread a Smile, said that the organisation visits 27 hospitals and two hospices, entertaining sick children by their bedsides, as well as virtually.

“We might take a magician, face painter or singer, or we might bring therapy dogs or do some art with them — it’s very special because the siblings are included too, so the parents get some respite while watching their children having a bit of normality and fun back into their lives, in their most challenging times.”

The charity will be celebrating its 10th anniversary with the dinner, as well as sharing a story about a little girl who they have known and supported since the beginning, who sadly passed away.

Spread a Smile aims to raise £1.4m this year to continue running its services and expand into 11 more hospitals.

Andrew Bloom, the latest trustee of the charity and owner and executive chairman at Spring Finance, said: “When you have a child who is extremely unwell, the opportunity to [have fun days] is few and far between.

“The importance to the family becomes so much greater; to another family, it may just be a routine nice weekend or afternoon out, but to [those] who are coming to events like these, the importance is greatly enhanced for them.”

Josephine added: “Entertainment is vital to a child’s welfare — rather than the child talking about a cannula being fitted or more chemotherapy or another operation or procedure, they can talk about this fantastic trick that this magician did, or how fantastic some singing was — elongating that bit of fun being brought back into their lives.”

Speaking on his own experience as a parent, Andrew commented: “My own son was at Great Ormond Street from two to 18 years old and I’m very fortunate to say that he was never life threateningly unwell, but still had a very serious challenge.

“He was officially discharged from hospital a few months ago, and I remember a time when my wife and I were doing two weeks of 24-hour visits, just rotating on and off.

“So having a memorable, shared experience as a family [in this situation] is so meaningful.”

Spread a Smile has been selected as this year’s charity partner at the B&C awards and we kindly encourage tableholders and members of the specialist finance community to donate generously.

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