The Play Well Trust was founded by Sarah Vaughan in January 2019, following the shocking diagnosis of a brain tumour in one of her daughter's nursery school friends.
Sarah felt compelled to use her skills and knowledge of Child Development and Early Years Education to support the little girl and her family through the use of play and creativity - all packed neatly into a Feel Better Box.
The little girl, had attended Sarah’s daughter’s 4th birthday party in the summer and had loved all of the creative and messy activities available there, so this seemed to be a good place to start. Sarah decided to make her a “party in a box”, so that she had some creative, play based activities that she could use at home with her siblings and family, while she was recovering from her treatments. Sarah packed a shoe box with all sorts of goodies, wrapped it in brown paper and delivered the first ever “Feel Better Box”.
The feedback from the family about the box was so positive, that Sarah began to offer boxes to other families where a child had a serious illness, as a pilot scheme, to see what impact it would have, if any.
The feedback was conclusive; Play and creativity were really benefitting the children and families who had received Feel Better Boxes, and it was clear that there was a need for this service both in hospital and at home.
In January 2019, The Play Well Trust was born, and it continues to grow from strength to strength. In its first year, The Play Well Trust sent 22 Feel Better Boxes to families across the UK - 73% of those families were affected by childhood cancer.
Sarah also works hard to build links with other charities so that we can work together to support more children and families. She is an affiliate for Demelza House Hospice Care for Children and she also has links with Eva’s Angels, a small, but brilliant, charity who offer short breaks on the Kent coast, for families affected by childhood cancer.
The aims of The Play Well Trust are:
To champion the benefits of play for children and their families where a child is experiencing serious illness that impacts on their education and home life.
To providing bespoke therapeutic Feel Better Boxes which contain play equipment to promote healing and wellness, encourage family interaction and make happy family memories.
To support the mental health and wellbeing of siblings of seriously ill children by providing specialist groupwork and one-to-one activities within the county of Kent, UK.
To provide holistic therapeutic support for families where a child has a serious illness within the county of Kent, UK.
To empower families to develop and maintain relationships when a child is seriously ill though the use of play, communication and positive touch.
To promote, sustain and increase the knowledge of other professionals relating to the benefits of play for the health and wellbeing of seriously ill children and their families.
At present The Play Well Trust is entirely funded by the fundraising activities of its trustees. If you would like to donate or sponsor a Feel Better Box, click here.