Southampton Hospital Gets 'Fun Centres'

Children at Southampton General Hospital can now enjoy using some unique mobile entertainment units -provided for by The Starlight charity.

They're currently rolling out its new Fun Centres, which are unique mobile entertainment units that incorporate a Nintendo Wii console, four Nintendo DSi's, DVD/ Blu-ray player, internet access and a flat screen TV.

HEART helped raise money to pay for them

These new machines have been proven to help entertain and distract children from their anxiety and pain when they are undergoing treatment. Starlight recently undertook a research audit with Imperial Healthcare Trust (London) to investigate the benefits of using a Starlight Fun Centre in the treatment of children and the study showed that 80% of the children surveyed rated the Starlight Fun Centre as 'good to excellent' in achieving its aim of distraction when used as a tool by a Play Specialist.

Southampton General Hospital is one of the first hospitals to receive the Fun Centres and it has recently taken charge of seven of these new machines at a cost of £3,000 each. HEART has helped in raising money for the units -nationally we have raised more than $400,000 for the Starlight charity, whihc has helped pay for 202 of the Fun Centres.

Hospital Play Specialist Jo Cutler said:

"They're brilliant not only as a distraction but as a social tool. Our physiotherapists also like the fun centres because quite often, when children have had surgery and they need to get moving, they don't want to. But when you wheel one of these out it really encourages them to get out of bed. The games can stop them from thinking about any pain or discomfort they may be feeling - they actually forget that they're sick and it keeps them from getting bored. I’m a firm believer that keeping a sick child as happy as you can and keeping them active means they will recover a lot quicker."

Jordan Gafney from Winchester thinks they're great