This festive period we’ll be once again enjoying Health Holidays and are asking our generous supporters to join us by not donating chocolates, sweets and sugary snacks.
Our policy, which we introduced last year, follows those adopted by other children’s hospitals across the country to help improve the wellbeing of our patients.
We’re certainly not banning chocolate as we know that many of our children and young people, who are able to eat Christmas treats, will still get lots from their friends and family. Instead what we want to do is help our families stick to a healthier diet, especially if it’s an essential part of their child’s recovery, and ask that if you want to support our kids this Christmas, you consider another way.
To find out more about our Healthy Holidays policy and for other ideas of how to donate and support our sick kids this Christmas, please call 0121 333 8506 or visit: www.bch.org.uk/healthy-holidays
Healthy Holidays FAQs
As part of our Healthy Holidays policy, which was successfully introduced last year, we’ve once again decided not to distribute additional chocolate and sweets to our patients this Christmas. Here, Dr Chris Chiswell, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, explains why we’ve brought the policy back this festive season.
Why have you made this decision?
Many of our specialist teams are caring for children and young people who aren’t able to eat confectionary. Some have a specific condition, such as a metabolic disease, which means it’s dangerous for them. Others have a condition that is made worse by too much sugar, such as diabetes, and even more need to protect their dental health, including our heart surgery patients who are vulnerable to infection.
We were also hearing from parents who were taking responsibility for their child’s diet that gifting lots of extra chocolate was undermining the good conversations they were having within their family. Finally, we’re at the heart of a city where one in four children are obese by year 6, and one in three children have tooth decay by age 12. So, along with other leading children’s hospitals around the UK, it was time to make a change to make sure we weren’t part of the problem.
What is the Healthy Holidays policy?
Don’t worry – we’re not banning chocolate and sweets from the hospital. We’re simply asking our supporters, visitors and families to not give us confectionary to pass on to our patients. We know that our children and young people will still be treated to more than enough by their friends and family, and it’s important that their parents and carers get to be in control of this.
How can people show their support instead?
As a gift, cheap chocolate is gone in a moment, and there are lots of amazing alternative gifts that will have a positive impact on our children and their hospital experience throughout the year, and not just at Christmas. For example, you could purchase one of our Alternative Gifts on our online shop, such as a £5 sensory blanket to calm a baby or toddler or a £10 sing-a-long session at a child’s beside.
Find out more about our Alternative Gifts online at bch.org.uk/alternative-gifts