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Music, Arts and Play

Supporting music, arts and play at Bristol Children's Hospital

Music Therapy in ward

Grand Appeal Music Therapist Claire playing the ukelele for a patient

Music Therapy

We work in partnership with Bristol Children's Hospital to ensure the hospital is a vibrant and child-friendly place, by providing a music therapy service, funding the arts and play programme at the hospital, commissioning large scale artworks for wards, and funding a whole range of entertainment for patients.

Our Grand Appeal music therapists, Claire and Karen, visit patients on every ward with a trolley full of instruments. Together, they deliver music therapy to sick children five days a week, seeing over 30 children weekly.

Bedside activities range from songwriting and sound effects, to rhythmic drumming and ukulele lessons, and the team also runs sessions for groups and families. Music Therapy is particularly impactful for children who are non-verbal and pre-verbal, and for those who are struggling emotionally with a long stay in hospital.

Theatre Artwork

Space-themed theatre artwork on level 5

Art in Bristol Children's Hospital

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 we funded in 2001, is a landmark icon for the hospital.

When the Hospital first opened, we funded £1 million 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.

Alongside ensuring the hospital is a child-friendly environment with eye-catching artwork, we fund a dedicated Arts Co-ordinator who supports the Arts programme at Bristol Children’s Hospital by organising a variety of workshops and activities inviting musicians, artists and creatives inside the hospital, bringing something different to the everyday lives of patients and their families.

Patient on sensory play swing

A patient enjoying the outdoor sensory swing


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, Marius, 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 well-being, 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.

If you're interested in finding out more about how we fund sensory play and are interested in supporting this service, please see our Play 4 All Business Challenge.

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