A student-led society at Keele University which brings together medical, nursing, healthcare science and education students who all want to work with children in the future or want to volunteer their time to the local community - with WMAHSN support - are jubilant after scooping a national award recently.
Keele's Teddy Bear Hospital lifted the award for Best Local Community Contribution at the National Societies Awards 2017, which celebrate the very best student societies in the UK, at the ceremony in Nottingham on 19 May.
Teddy Bear Hospital is the only society within the medical school to bring together this range of students, and is fully led by the students, with no university staff input. They organise all training, volunteer recruitment and liaison with schools in the local area, and arrange the visits, transport for the volunteers and resources and teaching to the children in schools.
All the volunteers are trained by the committee to teach children ranging from 5-10 years. This is unique to Keele University, as they have expanded their educational schemes this year to include one of the primary school years. The society benefits the children of the local community free of charge. The society uses volunteers who sign up weekly via their Facebook group. No money is taken and Teddy Bear Hospital uses their own means of fundraising to restock equipment.
The society has benefited from WMAHSN input, which has led to Teddy Bear Hospital being the focus of promoting children's health in the Stoke-on-Trent region, as well as being an example of community engagement in other areas across the county such as Rugeley.
Pamela Sturges, Second Year Medical Student at Keele Medical School and President of Teddy Bear Hospital, said: "Our particular branch of this society has worked hard to branch out to children of older age groups and has designed a completely new, innovative scheme from the ground up in collaboration with the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network. This scheme is aimed towards children of ages 10-12 and incorporates teaching about long term health conditions.
"Our work with the society has led us on to taking up other projects such as creating a children's newsletter for schools, creating and developing a long term conditions website for Stoke CCG and being involved in a focus group for a new children's health app."
A video shows the volunteers at work and some of the children engaging in the activities.