Sick Kids Friends Foundation Has Support Down To A Fine Art

by Alicia Simpson

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

AiR (1)
Young patients and their families at an Edinburgh hospital have been getting crafty following the funding of a writer and illustrator in residence by a much-loved local charity.

Thanks to the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, Writer Linda Cracknell and Illustrator Cate James undertook the artistic residency at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (RHSC), working on the wards and in clinics and waiting areas to create a distraction and bring creative and fun activities to the children there.

The residency, which ran for a total of four years, saw Linda and Cate involved in a wide range of innovative and interactive projects, all aimed at humanising the hospital, staff and equipment to make it familiar to patients, through a variety of mediums such as poetry, story writing, film and illustration.

The creative pair are also working on a project to create a memory of the existing hospital building before its move to a new, purpose-built home at Little France in 2017, towards which the SKFF has committed to contribute £2.9million.

With the RHSC residency now complete, Illustrator Cate has moved to Sydney to take up a similar role at the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick.

Cate said: “We are very grateful to the SKFF for creating our roles as without them the residencies wouldn’t have happened.

“The charity was always supportive of the projects that we wanted to undertake throughout the residency, whether it was a series of books, cards or prints for the wall or trips to Craigmillar castle with outpatients.

“The time I spent at the Sick Kids has made me really want to continue working in hospitals. There are some patients that I’ll never forget from my time here and one that stands out in my mind was a really quite poorly boy who made a Valentine’s Day card for his mum with Linda and me. She cried when he gave it to her, and for me that made the workshop so worthwhile.”

Writer Linda added: “The length of this residency allowed us to form relationships with staff and families in the hospital, which led to trust and understanding and therefore a higher quality work.

“The hospital has enormous character, great warmth, and all aspects of life are embraced by it. The accent of our residency was on encouraging fun and providing distractions through creative activity. Sometimes the children would surprise themselves in an activity they hadn’t had the opportunity to try before, which was fantastic to see.

“For me, part of the value of this project was collaborating with staff and patients on their creative ideas before Cate and I polished them into words and drawings. I love Cate’s illustrations and it’s been a unique experience for me to collaborate with an illustrator for the first time – I’ve certainly learned a lot.”

The Sick Kids Friends Foundation supports and complements the work of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children as well as other children’s healthcare settings across the southeast of Scotland and beyond.

Fiona O’Sullivan, Arts Programme Manager at the SKFF, said: “The work that Linda and Cate have done for the hospital over the past four years has been absolutely fantastic and they have received hugely positive feedback from patients, families and staff alike, so we are delighted to have been able to create the residency roles.

“We exist to ensure children and young people’s lives are less interrupted by illness and that they have a more positive hospital experience. We provide enhanced facilities, equipment and distractions and it is the generosity of those who get involved with us which allows us to continue doing this.”

Linda and Cate kept a blog throughout their residency, documenting the activities and projects that they were involved in. Further details can be found at: http://allwritekreativkids.blogspot.co.uk

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Private: Alicia Simpson

The profile and biography of public relations professional Alicia Simpson, a junior account executive with award-winning Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh.

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