A new Project Co-Ordinator is now in post at the Great North Children’s Hospital using sport to provide outreach to children and families affected by chronic conditions.
Project Co-Ordinator Melissa Scott has been jointly funded by the Great North Children’s Foundation and Newcastle United Foundation for two years to support children who are in treatment or remission and their siblings, to help them reach their own personal goals and to make their dreams a reality.
Melissa has been working alongside the staff from Newcastle Bridges School at the GNCH since the start of term in September and has very quickly become a valued member of the team. Becky Neillis, Department Education Coordinator, Newcastle Bridges School said Melissa was a huge asset to the team.
“The sessions Melissa delivers not only enhance and add breadth to the curriculum we offer, they also provide a fantastic opportunity for students across the full age and ability range, who have numerous different medical conditions, to overcome barriers to being active. This is extremely beneficial to our long-term students who are able to engage in sessions on a regular basis.”
Melissa’s impact has been particularly evident on Ward 7, where she has been working with students who come to the ward for haemodialysis every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For some patients, this may be the only engagement they have as COVID-19 has meant social restrictions which have impacted on the children’s lives and for many patients; it is the only outlet of physical activity,” said Becky.
“As well as sports activities, some children have been learning about healthy lifestyles and raising awareness of discrimination, hate crime, bullying, sexism and disability.” Becky explained that participating in sessions with Melissa undoubtedly helps to improve student wellbeing.
“Melissa ensures that sessions are accessible and interesting for every individual student that she works with and she is fantastic at establishing positive relationships with, and motivating and engaging all students. Those students who have already engaged in sessions with Melissa have very obviously enjoyed them!”