Following extensive consultation between Alder Hey and the Everton in the Community (the charitable arm of Everton Football Club) a partnership was established to create an Alder Hey disability development programme.
Workshops began in January 2008, and each session helps engage disabled children, young people and their families with health messages and exercise activities in fun and exciting ways. In developing this programme, Alder Hey has recognised its responsibility to help patients to sustain long and healthy life, long after their initial treatment ends.
Children and young people with disabilities can often feel marginalised and excluded from public health messages. Their parents can feel very protective and this can lead to further alienation. The programme Alder Hey and Everton in the Community have developed aims to be fully inclusive. It enables those with a range of abilities to be active, receive information on healthy lifestyles, see positive role models in action and helps parents understand that their children are able to exercise and take part in main stream activities without any harm.
The impact of our football workshop programme has been huge, and we’ve managed to make huge steps towards the healthy eating and physical activity goals we outline in our Public Health Strategy.
Patients’ admiration for Everton Football Club helps generate a level of enthusiasm that health practitioners can find difficult to achieve. Participants engage in discussions focusing on health and wellbeing, but the workshops also provide a much needed platform for social interaction and laughter that breaks up the tedium of long-term hospital care and eases children’s anxieties.
“Lovely surprise for the afternoon, Thank You” -Parent
“Everton workshop was great fun” -Daniel aged 8
I thought it was great fun and my son visiting his poorly sister enjoyed it too”-Parent
Building on the success of our football workshops, Alder Hey and Everton in the community joined with Woodland’s Beauty Spa to create new initiative: ‘Soccer Spa’.
After feedback from female patients, we developed workshops that provided spa therapies like massages face paint and nail art to our patients and their families.
Soccer Spa activities are specifically designed to allow all children to take part, regardless of age, ability or physical circumstance.
Parents often remark on how relaxing the workshops are, and staff have also noticed how much the spa sessions list morale on the wards.
“I enjoyed having my nails done, I enjoyed brushing the teeth and having my photo taken, thank you to you all” “The Therapies help to lift the mood and enable parents to deal with the day to day stresses of being in hospital”
“it is nice to do something alongside my daughter that does not relate to her condition” Parent
“I enjoyed having my nails done it took my mind off things for a little while, thank you very much” Dinah, parent