Arts, Music & Play

We need to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds every year, to ensure that the children’s hospital is a child-friendly, vibrant and welcoming place for patients and families.

Arts, music and play programmes form a vital part of a child’s recovery and rehabilitation, and arts workshops, dedicated music therapy sessions and school activities all provide opportunities for distraction and wellbeing for hospital patients.

Music therapy

Children experience lots of difficult feelings while they are in hospital, particularly during a long stay. Music therapy is a fun and creative way to help children express themselves, as well as providing a distraction from the stresses of treatment, and is proven to aid recovery.

The Grand Appeal funds three music therapists at Bristol Children’s Hospital, who visit patients on every ward with a trolley full of instruments. Bedside activities range from songwriting and sound effects to rhythmic drumming and ukulele lessons, and the team also runs sessions for groups and families.

Thanks to your fundraising, we have expanded the Music Therapy service to six days a week and support over 1000 children each year.  To continue to do this, we need raise £45,000 each year to fund the service.

Play Centre

The Play Centre in Bristol Children’s Hospital is a magical place: a bright, colourful escape filled with toys and games, where children can leave the stresses of hospital life and treatment behind.

We employ a dedicated sensory play therapist to support children throughout the hospital through play. 

As well as being proven to aid physical recovery, play is so important for a child’s emotional wellbeing, and play specialists and assistants are always on hand to keep patients and siblings entertained with arts and crafts activities, competitions, and more. we also fund a wide range of artists and performers visiting the hospital, and support the Play Centre’s summer fete, where patients, families and staff come together for a day of fun and games.

Art Enhancements

Step into the Hospital and you instantly know it was designed with children in mind: fun, colourful artwork adorns the walls, nurses’ stations look like trains and boats, and outside, the iconic ‘Lollipop’ sculpture, funded by The Grand Appeal when the hospital opened in 2001, is a landmark icon for the hospital, and attracts lots of smiles.

When the Hospital first opened we funded £1million towards these enhancements, and we have since continued to invest in the child-friendly artwork that is so important to patients’ wellbeing, providing a fun, stimulating environment and distracting them from treatment.

In the new Hospital expansion, animals now decorate the corridors, accompanying children between departments, and in the hospital reception we created a special gallery where patients’ artwork is proudly displayed every month.


Hospital life is not easy for children, particularly when a child is undergoing lengthy and painful treatment. To provide much-needed fun and entertainment, which in turn enhances patients’ wellbeing, we have funded TVs and DVDs for every ward so children can enjoy watching their favourite shows and films.

We also refurbished the Adolscent Ward and created a 'Winter Garden' in partnership with the Teenage Cancer Trust, providing TV, DVD, laptop and game consoles, as well as an amazing interactive jukebox!


We provide iPads throughout the hospital for entertainment and educational purposes – these are especially important for children with mobility issues who can interact with a simple touch or swipe of the screen.

Christmas & Easter

Staff at Bristol Children’s Hospital try their best to make sure every child who is well enough goes home for Christmas, but sadly this just isn’t possible for some of the sickest patients.

To make their Christmas as special as possible, we help provide presents for all the children and their siblings, hampers for parents, and festive decorations throughout the Hospital including a giant Christmas tree outside. There is also the all-important visit from Father Christmas!

At Easter we are also able to donate hundreds of Easter eggs thanks to the generosity of our supporters, bringing smiles to children’s faces at a special time of year.