Play Team of the Year Runner Up: Hywel Dda Play Team

We’re so proud to announce the runner up for this year’s Play Team of the Year is Hywel Dda Play Team. This team is made up of eight play members spread across three hospitals, Glangwilli, Bronglias and Withybush Hospitals, in three different counties in Wales.

The Hywel Dda Play Team does so much for so many children and young people. They strongly believe play is a fundamental human right for all children, and they do everything they can to provide as much play as they can in all areas needed.

They view play as a coping mechanism for hospitalised children and method for them to express their thoughts and feelings. It can also be used to normalise the hospital experience for children and their families and help them stay relaxed and calm. But mostly, play empowers children and young people and encourages independent decision making and socialising.

Play is a fundamental right of every child and my passion for play in hospital is still strong even after many years in the profession. It's such a rewarding job because from the parent to the children to the doctors, they're all so very grateful for the work they team do each day.

Karen, Head of Therapeutic Play

Because the Hywel Dda Play Team believe so strongly in a child’s right to play, they do everything they can to provide play in every interaction they have with the children in their wards.

The Play Team will use toys and other hospital materials and resources to prepare the child for their medical procedure by explaining what will happen. This helps the child feel more control to the situation and react better to the procedure. They also use toys and various other materials to distract the child throughout the procedure. This helps take the child’s concentration away from the procedure and onto the toys, technology or other resources ultimately aiming for an overall better experience. The team also uses play after medical procedures. During this time, the team member will get on the child’s level to help them talk through their feelings and thoughts after the procedure with the goal to discover if more intervention is needed or if anything needs to be changed.

The Hywel Dda Play Team regularly use the toys, books, games, and activities included in our Starlight Boxes to distract and entertain the children and young people throughout their treatments. They also use Starlight Gaming Bundles and the Rhino Sensory Voyager to cater to a variety of children’s needs and wants. The equipment Starlight provides is so important and needed to help the team distract the children, play with them, and ultimately make their hospital experience more positive.

The Hywel Dda Play Team put play into the heart of everything they do. They take every opportunity to promote play as a therapy to heal and support children. They recongise the importance of supporting whole families, including siblings, which was fundamental in keeping families together during the pandemic. I'm incredibly proud of the difference they make and the flexible approach they take to ensure play can be delivered where it's needed.

Bethan, Play Team's Nominator and Colleague

In response to the Ukranian crisis, the Hywel Dda Play Team have been able to support Ukranian families who require health screening and blood tests by providing play for their children at the various clinics.

Despite the language barriers, the Play Team used simple picture guides to describe what is required and simple words to make communication easier. Play was crucial in this moment as it crosses all borders, nationalities and language barriers and gave comfort and familiarity to the families in the most difficult of times.

It's so lovely to have this award! We really appreciate the recognition and the profile this will give us around the hospital and wider afield. It will really raise awareness about what is we do as a play team.

Karen, Head of Therapeutic Play

We’re so proud of Karen and the entire Hywel Dda Play Team and the hard work they’re doing to provide play at Glangwilli, Bronglais and Withybush Hospitals.

Visit our 2022 Play in Hospital Week hub to learn more about this year’s winners and see how else we’re celebrating.