The 2021 Starlight Impact Report is out now.

Despite the uncertainties of Covid-19, the Starlight team rose to the challenges and opportunities of the year with positivity and determination.

Inspired by our role as Protectors of Play, together we’ve continued to find new ways to meet the needs of seriously ill children, their families and health professionals by listening and learning.

Here’s some of our highlights:

Hospital play and distraction

Hospitals can be an isolating, scary and anxious place to be for us all, but particularly for children.

This year, we have continued to adapt our services, found innovative ways of ensuring the pandemic doesn’t stop us delivering play and introduced new types of resources to hospitals.

In 2021, we have focused on hospitals in areas of multiple deprivation. These areas have limited access to play services which results in an inadequate hospital experience for children and parents.


Children Reached


Distraction Boxes and Boost Boxes Delivered


Hospitals and Hospices Serviced

Escapes, Breaks and Days

Positive social connections with people at all stages of life help to ensure healthy development, both physically and emotionally, and that’s what we aim to achieve with our programme of Starlight Escapes, Breaks and Days.

In 2021, we were delighted to resume our in-person events. We invited families to our first-ever Summer Festival, hosted families in specially adapted cottages at Brickhouse Farm, a day-out to Legoland, and a football day at The FA’s national training centre, St George’s Park.

We also continued providing our virtual parties and events as the pandemic showed us how important it is to reach families where they are most comfortable – at home.


Children and their families attended Starlight events


Of parents said our virtual pantomime gave their children something to look forward to


Children were supported at home through our virtual parties and resources

As we look forward to 2022, innovation and adaptability are baked into the Starlight strategy. We listen and respond to the needs of children and young people – and have exciting plans and changes for the year ahead.

Our team is excited to rollout new services and partnerships that will help provide entertainment, social connections, and distraction across the country, including:

  • New boxes filled with diverse resources that will help entertain and distract children of all ages.
  • New partnerships that will deliver high-ticket items like TheRockinR Gaming Cart and the Rhino Sensory Voyager Unit to hospital wards and hospices.
  • A new pilot programme that will fund Starlight Health Play Specialists.
  • A new strategy focusing on the inequality of play and the policy surrounding play in healthcare settings.

I would like to say a big thank you to Starlight’s supporters. You have provided the children with such appropriate equipment to enable them to have fun and do what children do best which is to play.

Dianne, Health Play Specialist

We would not be able to continue providing entertainment and distraction to seriously ill children and their families without your unending support. On behalf of the entire Starlight team, thank you for helping us protect play for children and hospitals across the UK.

Read the full report below.