As part of our annual celebration of Play in Hospital Week, the national awareness week focusing on the important role of play and distraction in children’s hospital treatment, Starlight conducted a nationwide search for an outstanding Health Play Specialist of the Year.
This year we were also excited to introduce a brand-new category, Play Team of the Year, to celebrate the incredible teamwork seen on hospital wards across the country.
Health Play Specialist of the Year 2020
So without further ado… Starlight’s third ever Play Specialist of the Year is….
Lisa Beaumont from Leeds Childrens’ Hospital!
Inspired by her own time in hospital as a child, Lisa has dedicated 32 years of her life to helping children in hospitals who are suffering through serious illnesses, by providing play and distraction to support young patients in the medical setting. She was nominated by her colleague Neoma Jacobs because of her dedication over the years, particularly during the pandemic.
“Lisa has fought to take on new play staff and secured some permanent jobs. Without Lisa in her role, the play staff could have been removed from the wards during Covid-19 meaning hundreds of children would have gone without play and support during such a difficult time.”
Lisa spent periods of time in hospital as a child and still remembers the feelings of anxiety as she sat for long periods alone on a bed waiting for or enduring procedures. Those events would later motivate Lisa into a lifetime of working with children, using play combined with passion to make a difference.
From proving the point of play when such a role was still rare three decades ago, to building a dedicated team, pushing boundaries, blagging freebies and literally making children’s dreams come true – Lisa embodies the heart and soul of the Starlight award.
As you can tell, Health Play Specialists like Lisa, truly are some of the many unsung heroes of the NHS, pour their time into ensuring that seriously ill children can still experience the value and joy of play.