The Rainbow Ward at St Bernard’s Hospital was grateful to receive a £14,000 donation from the Guardian Angel Foundation. The donation has funded the refurbishment and development of the existing playroom, including the purchase of new toys, art and craft materials, two laptop computers, a music system, a soft play area and child-friendly furnishings. A large proportion of the money donated by the Guardian Angel Foundation funded the construction and equipment of a sensory room within the original play area.

The sensory room provides a relaxing space that helps to reduce agitation and anxiety; feelings often experienced by hospitalised, sick children. An interactive aroma panel activates smells, colours, sounds and breezes for aromatic, visual, audible and tactile stimulation while the bubble tube and LED projector wheel lighting is soothing and relaxing.

 The sizeable donation has made it possible to include an interactive colour match panel which can transform the room from a calming and soothing place, to an exciting and engaging interactive space used to engage the child, stimulating reactions and encouraging communication.

Sensory areas are especially useful for children with sensory processing disorders such as autism, cerebral palsy or brain injury. These children often suffer agitation and frustration from a lack of choice and control. Sensory rooms aim to give children choice and control by allowing them to explore and interact with their environment. The purchase of a wireless controller will allow the children with fine/gross motor skill difficulties, visual impairment and limited mobility to still be able to control and interact with the colour match panel, aroma panel and bubble tube.

Staff at the Rainbow Ward would like to thank the Guardian Angel Foundation for its substantial donation, the second in 18 months, helping them improve the experience of hospitalised children in Gibraltar. Everyone at the Rainbow Ward is also delighted that Naomi Duarte, Young Artist of the Year 2016 volunteered to paint child friendly scenes in the main play area.

Minister for Health, the Hon Dr John Cortes, said: “I am very grateful to the Guardian Angel Foundation for their generous donation to the Rainbow Ward. I am certain that the addition of a sensory room will be of enormous benefit to the patients, aiding their development and recovery and making their experience of going to hospital as comfortable and pleasant as possible”.

The Guardian Angel Foundation launched its Facebook page in April 2013 and almost immediately received a number of messages of support which, they claim, have been moving and encouraging. This has no doubt given the committee members increased motivation. The page currently enjoys over 600 hundred “likes” and is growing in popularity. For further information on the charity’s past projects and forthcoming initiatives please refer to their Facebook page.