Young people take over children’s hospital

Young people took over Evelina London Children’s Hospital for a day as part of a national event.

Almost 20 young people, including the hospital’s patients and students from Sacred Heart secondary school in Southwark, South London, were given the opportunity to run parts of Evelina London during the Takeover Challenge.

The Takeover Challenge is a national event led by the Children’s Commissioner for England, which gives young people the chance to shadow jobs, get involved in decision making and offer their opinions on key issues.

Activities at Evelina London included a takeover of the hospital’s radio station, Radio Lollipop, which involved young people taking song requests from patients and interviewing staff.Participants also spent the day shadowing the Evelina London communications team and were able to tweet updates from the event using the hospital’s official Twitter account.Young people were also invited to pitch ideas for the Evelina London 150 birthday celebrations next year to a “Dragon’s Den” panel made up of senior staff.

The day finished with a special celebration event where young people were presented with certificates for taking part in the Takeover Challenge.

Shanaya Hamilton, 15, a pupil at Sacred Heart secondary school, took part in the Radio Lollipop takeover. She said: “Being able to DJ and speak directly to patients’ on the hospital’s wards was a lot of fun. Patients were sending us their song requests and we were able to play their favourite songs.

“I also really enjoyed interviewing staff and finding out about their jobs. I learnt a lot about the many different types of jobs you could do at a hospital. I didn’t realise that there was so much more to a hospital than just doctors and nurses.

“I feel really inspired by the Takeover Challenge. The staff at Evelina London were really lovely to us and spent lots of time discussing their roles and explaining how the hospital is run.”

Janet Powell, director of nursing at Evelina London, said: “We were delighted to take part in the Takeover Challenge. All the young people who took part should feel really proud of themselves for sharing their ideas and contributing to how Evelina London is run.

“It’s really important that the services we run meet the needs of our young patients, and that we are supporting our local community. Taking part in the Takeover Challenge is a great way of ensuring that we’re doing that. We want young people to know that their views and ideas can and do make a real difference.”

The Takeover Challenge was held on Friday 23 November.

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