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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Clowndoctors pay a visit to shielding children

This news post is about 1 year old

CHAS and Hearts and Minds have teamed up to brighten up the days of young children

Two charities have teamed up to help brighten up the day of young people who are stuck at home.

Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) joined forces with Hearts and Minds to deliver some much-needed laugher to the doorsteps of local CHAS families this past weekend.

Fan favourites Dr Cous Cous and Dr Groovy surprised three local families who use CHAS services by performing on their own doorsteps rather than on their screens; delivering socially distanced fun, distraction and joy to their home.

CHAS has an ongoing partnership with Hearts and Minds who deliver the clowndoctor programme which focuses on improvisation, music and rhyme, song, dance, magic, puppetry, games and storytelling. Each session was tailored to the individual needs of the child, all of whom are already familiar with the clowndoctors.

Suzi from Paisley was just one of the children who enjoyed a visit from the clowndoctors. Her mum Mags said, “I am so thankful to CHAS and the clown doctors for helping us create the most amazing and beautiful memories that will last a lifetime. Having a life-limiting child is very emotionally hard as you watch them struggle with ill health so to have this fantastic experience has been so heart-warming to be able to watch my little darling smile and laugh and forget all about her pain for a while.. She was loving life right then and my heart felt such gratefulness.”

The children involved were told that they would be meeting their beloved clowndoctors on Zoom but instead of connecting to the virtual session their doorbell rang and they were greeted by the hilarious Dr Cous Cous and Dr Groovy.

Eilidh Grant, activities coordinator at CHAS, said: “It was just brilliant to see the smiles on the faces of the children, especially because some of them have been shielding for a long time.

“They really engage with the clowndoctors and value the time that they spend with them so it makes a real difference for these children to see them in the flesh and better that, at their own home… They didn’t want to say goodbye!”

Rebecca Simpson, chief executive of Hearts and Minds, said: "Hearts and Minds is delighted to have delivered these fantastic surprise visits for CHAS children and their families. The joy of actually seeing their friends the clowndoctors on their doorsteps was heart-warming. We are delighted to build on our partnership with CHAS and look forward to working with them on more exciting initiatives for CHAS families in the coming months as well as continuing to be part of the successful Virtual Hospice."

With its two hospices focusing on emergency care in order to safeguard families during the first national lockdown in March 2020, CHAS had to dramatically transform the way in which it provides its increasingly important services. As well as expanding home care, the Virtual Hospice – the first of its kind in the world – now routinely supports children and families across Scotland. Nurses, doctors, and family support specialists use technology to support families in their own homes. In 2020-21, CHAS delivered 376 hours of clowndoctor sessions to 1,284 children with Hearts and Minds and with the success of the doorstep visits, the charity is hoping to be able to arrange many more



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