The UCLH play and youth services team provides therapeutic, diagnostic, developmental and specialised play interventions to help support children and young people during their time at UCLH. 

Play and recreation is an essential part of childhood and adolescence, as well as being essential for children’s and young people’s mental, social and emotional growth and wellbeing. This does not stop when they come to UCLH. The play and youth services team facilitates play throughout the various hospital settings and clinics, ensuring the needs of children and young people are met. 

Our work includes:

  • Providing age and developmentally appropriate information through play preparation for potentially frightening and/or painful treatment.
  • Supporting patients during invasive procedures by providing distraction therapy.
  • Being an advocate on behalf of children and young people.
  • Providing peer group support.
  • Providing parental, sibling and extended family support.
  • Providing therapeutic interventions to support patients throughout their hospital journey.
  • Creating safe, welcoming and less frightening environments for children and young people.
  • Providing a wide variety of play interventions and recreation to our child and young person patients.
  • Teaching our peers and colleagues on appropriate play, communication and approaches for ill or injured children and young people.
  • Working with members of the nursing, medical and other staff groups to provide family-centred care.

Through our work, we help children and young people become less anxious and more cooperative with their treatment, increase their understanding of the hospital environment, and increase understanding of their health, illness and treatment.

Service management

Other contact information

Jenny Oliver - Deputy Play Services Manager
Tel: 020 3447 4626

If you or your child are coming to UCLH and would like to find out more about your visit, have a look at our children and young people website, where you will find useful information, stories and more about your visit to UCLH.

If you or your child are anxious or nervous about coming to hospital and would like further support, please get in touch via the contact us page of the website.

The play and youth services team provides teaching throughout the multidisciplinary team on a regular basis, as well as teaching in external settings. 

We can provide support to students from various professions, including radiographers, medical students, student nurses and child life specialists. We are able to offer placements and mentor students completing a Health Play Specialists degree. If UCLH is somewhere you wish to complete your placement hours, get in touch with us. 

The play and youth services team welcomes donations you wish to make, whether it is play equipment or financial support.

We accept toys and books, both new and second hand. Please note that due to infection control policies, we are unable to accept used soft toy donations.

If you wish to make a financial donation, contact the UCLH Charity or contact us directly.

The play and youth services team would be delighted if you want to volunteer your time to help us to provide high standards of care to the children and young people.

If you would like any further information, get in touch with us directly or contact volunteering services via the main UCLH switchboard. 

The play and youth services team works closely with various external charities that are committed to supporting our work through funding posts.

We currently employ five members of the team through external charity funders.

Our supporters are:



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