Ward decorating at Birmingham Children's Hospital
As part of Prime’s ongoing support for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, we volunteered to decorate a ward at the Hospital for Christmas. The theme for this year was Frozen/Winter Wonderland and we had been allocated a reasonably large part of the Renal ward to decorate with all manor of Christmas decorations. Our brief was to make the ward seem as though ‘Christmas had thrown up’, (words of BCH’s fundraising team).
In advance of the “decorating day” a team of Prime staff went to inspect the ward and started to formulate a plan. There were some very stringent guidelines to follow and a time limit on the day of 3 hours to get everything up and in place.
Once we had an idea of what was required to decorate the ward and had thrown some ideas around with the nurses who work there, we asked our colleagues at Prime to come up with even more ideas on how we were going to make, purchase and borrow decorations to keep within the cost budget. The nurses on the ward were so eager for us to come in and put some festive cheer into the ward, they asked if we could start straight away. Early November is a bit too soon in my book, but it just goes to show how the staff and their patients really appreciate volunteers making the ward festive for them!
The Prime team had some brilliant ideas, consisting of 5 ft advent calendars, large 3D snowflakes, life size Frozen character cardboard cut outs, light up reindeers/snowmen and lots of Frozen pictures for the kids in the Hospital to colour in. We had people making and buying decorations for over a two weeks to get as much as we could ready before the decorating day on 1st December.
Whilst looking at the cost side of the project and taking in to account the request from the ward for a replacement illuminated Reindeer, we took the decision to see if all members of staff could donate a little towards the project via a dress down Friday. So much so, that we had enough to buy the Reindeer (which turned out to be a Snowman) and did not use any of the original budget. This has now given the ward something to keep and put out every Christmas for the foreseeable future.
Now we had everything ready and prepared for the 1st December in conjunction with the Hospitals fire regulations, infection control and ‘elf ‘n’ safety’. An exited team of six, set off to make the patients and nurses stay in Hospital over Christmas a little more festive. We had to get to the Hospital and start at 1.30pm on the dot. However, a combination of mis-communication, an advent calendar that was in reality to big for one person to carry and not parking in the same car park, lead to us not getting on to the ward until 2pm. Once there we got cracking straight away, splitting in to smaller teams to concentrate on areas to decorate within the ward.
After three hours of intense tinselling and ward illuminating we had put all decorations up brightening up the Renal ward ready for the countdown to Christmas. The team on the day were proud of what we had accomplished and had not left any corner of the ward go without a bit of festive decoration, even the clock on the wall had a festive makeover!
The nurses on the ward, the fundraising staff, the patients and their relatives gave us some great feedback on what a wonderful job we had all done. But it wasn’t just the six members of staff that were there on the day, it was the support from all at Prime and their hard work and donations that made it all possible. We left the Hospital that afternoon, with a sense of achievement and pride that we had gone someway in to making the time in the Renal ward over Christmas period, a little more festive and cheerful for all those who are unfortunate enough to be there.