Working Wonders – the amazing Wonder Factory at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Queensland
Every year the amazing staff at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) care for more than 37,000 kids from all over Queensland. On average, one child every three days is retrieved by ambulance or helicopter from regional and remote areas and transported to the RCH for specialist treatment.
Imagine your life changing in an instant and accompanying one of your children to hospital in a different city, not knowing what will happen next. You could be separated from your support network of family, friends and colleagues, and have to leave your partner at home to continue working to support the family and pay the bills. You could be away from home for days, weeks or even months. This sudden and unexpected disruption of daily life is the reality for many families who are transferred to the RCH.
This is when the Wonder Factory works its magic, by entertaining patients and their siblings, and providing parents with practical support.
The Wonder Factory
The Wonder Factory at the Royal Children’s Hospital is a favourite with young patients, giving them the chance to play, have fun and interact with other children with the emphasis that the kids are in control – a welcome change from their daily hospital lives! Their days are usually regimented by hospital and medical staff and procedures – we can give them the chance to make choices and just be kids again! The Wonder Factory is a great environment for patients to meet new friends and provides parents and carers with a welcomed break knowing their child is being supervised and entertained so they can visit doctors, run errands, grab a coffee, have a shower or pay some bills.
The Children’s Health Foundation funds the Wonder Factory. Kids who visit the Wonder Factory have a range of activities available to them from arts and crafts, face painting, interactive competitions to video games, board games, karaoke, role play and celebrity visits. For those kids who can’t make it out their hospital beds, the Foundation’s volunteers visits the wards every day with their trolleys full of toys and games, puzzles, play dough, story-telling
and much more.
The Wonder Factory also includes a state-of-the-art internal television studio and broadcast facility, providing
quality and fun children’s programs, movies and music videos; as well as live in-house footage, celebrity interviews and interactive quizzes and competitions. All of this is broadcast to every bed in the hospital ensuring that every child has access to the fun via Wonder Factory TV. Programs such as Pet Therapy, the Book Bunker library and the Cuddle Care volunteers who provide comfort and support to babies, are also available for patients and their families.
Nine-year-old Felicity says, “My favourite part about the hospital is the Wonder Factory — you can play there. I like face painting the best.”
Over 350 Wonder Factory volunteers work year round to bring smiles and laughter to sick kids in the hospital. The volunteers entertain more than 500 sick kids and family members through the Wonder Factory, ward visits, pet therapy, the book bunker and the loans trolley each month.
Since opening in the late 1990’s, the Wonder Factory has provided fun & support to over 30,000 sick babies and children each year in the Royal Children’s Hospital.
If you would like to volunteer at the Wonder Factory please visit www.workingwonders.com.au.