Athletes to mentor children and young people having treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital

13 May 2024, 1:35 p.m.

A picture showing Lucy Waller, with Athlete Mentor Su Miller in the entrance of the hospital with a logo behind them.

Lucy Waller, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist and athlete mentor and former England national badminton champion, Su Miller.

In a new partnership with Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, world class athlete mentors will support children and young people having treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Funded by Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity), the programme will support 100 young people and their families over the next year, across the cancer and bone marrow transplant, rheumatology, paediatric and adolescent mental health services, and respiratory departments.

The programme’s first participants have begun their sessions, with England Cerebral Palsy Football’s Harry Baker and his first mentee having their first sessions in April.

Children to become inspired and motivated during their treatment

With a focus on encouraging and motivating young people to become more active during their hospital stay, and once they return home, participants chose an athlete mentor they best relate to. The mentors will support young people around building relationship skills, improving self-esteem, confidence or learning to stay focused, and to be physically active in all parts of their life and improve their well being.

Lucy Waller, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist, said: "We know that being active makes a massive difference to children’s health and their recovery. It is really exciting to be working with Dame Kelly Holmes Trust so children can be partnered with athletes and be inspired and motivated during their treatment and to be more active. This will make a big difference to their experience of being in hospital and receiving treatment, and aid recovery."

Hopes to reach 100 young people over the next year

The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust’s athlete mentors, who have all competed at elite level, offer encouragement, support and importantly, someone to talk to who is not part of their healthcare plan - considered extremely valuable by many of the young people who have been involved in existing schemes by Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. The programme aims to reach 100 young people over the course of the next year.

Martin Talbot, Interim CEO, Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, said: "We’re delighted to be able to start delivery on this programme. We understand the challenges faced by young people whose lives have been affected by periods of time in hospital and it’s a privilege for us and our athlete mentors to support Great Ormond Street Hospital’s patients on their road to recovery."

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