GOSH Children’s Charity: A Very Special Partnership

Pepa González stands at the entrance of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Visiting, Learning and Working to Create Good

We are proud to announce our partnership and onsite donation tool with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity), which supports Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) to help give seriously ill children the best chance to fulfil their potential. The charity funds four key areas: support for children, families and staff; lifesaving medical equipment; research into children’s health; and redevelopment and refurbishment. This support helps GOSH to remain one of the top five paediatric hospitals in the world and the largest paediatric centre in the UK. The hospital offers over 60 clinical specialties and caters for children from across the UK and around the world, 31% of whom are under four years old.

I was honoured that the team at GOSH Charity invited me down for a private tour of their facilities and to learn more about the important charitable work that they do. It was such a fascinating and inspiring morning, where we started at the most recently launched fundraising project, the GOSH Sight and Sound Centre, which opened in 2019.

GOSH Sight and Sound Centre

The centre is the is the UK’s first dedicated facility for children with sight and hearing loss. Upon arrival into the building, I immediately felt at ease, as the space has been entirely developed and designed with children in mind – cleverly and sensorily curated in every way. A particularly stunning installation was the special acoustic hanging chimes in the staircase that change pitch as you move through each floor. This is designed to help visually impaired patients navigate which landing they are on. Another special element was the beautiful sensory garden, complete with acoustic and floral activations. There were installations that you could touch or hear dotted around the entire building.

Pepa González stands in front of an art installation inside GOSH. The wind chime installation in the stairwell of GOSH that helps visually impaired patients hear what floor they are on.
Pepa González is interacting with an installation of a model of the GOSH. Pepa González stands in front of an installation in an outdoor area of GOSH.

History of Great Ormond Street Hospital and Fundraising

We then made our way across to some of the older parts of the hospital to hear more about its fantastic history. When it opened in 1852, the fundraising and patronage was started and spearheaded by Charles Dickens, who would do book readings to raise money. He introduced his friend and fellow author, J.M. Barrie, to the hospital who was so touched by its mission that he in turn decided to fundraise as well. In 1929, Barrie donated the copyright of Peter Pan to GOSH as a powerful fundraising gesture. Upon Walt Disney’s purchase of the Peter Pan rights, the copyright agreement has been kept in place thanks to a change in law, proposed by the former Prime Minister Lord Callaghan, and the copyright is uniquely protected for GOSH in perpetuity. A small Tinkerbell statue was erected at GOSH in memory of Lord Callaghan to reflect this, and still stands today as the smallest statue in London! Other Peter Pan and Disney connections are dotted around the hospital, from the fabulous Peter Panbulances to the Disney installed wondrous Under the Sea garden - which is the biggest Disney installation in the world outside of the Disney playparks!

One of the 'Peter Panbulances' that is covered illustrations of characters from the story.

The charity is key in driving and supporting the continuous upgrades needed for the hospital’s infrastructure, which include replacing old, out of date buildings to ensure the best care and treatment for the children under GOSH’s care. The latest project being supported by GOSH Charity is the Children’s Cancer Centre, which will support every aspect of care for children and their families, from diagnosis to remission. Another important addition has also included the Morgan Stanley Garden for GOSH, designed by Chris Beardshaw, and donated by the Chelsea Flower Show in 2016. A more prominent project funded by the charity was the construction and opening of the Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children. Opened in October 2019, it was named after Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the wife of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who personally donated £60m towards the project.

The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children

This centre deserves a particular mention due to the impressive work it does into researching and finding cures for complex and rare diseases. With over 500 academics, scientists and clinicians based in the centre, it is the world’s first purpose-built centre dedicated to paediatric research into rare diseases. In the UK, unfortunately, only 5% of all medical research money is passed towards paediatric research, so it is critical that GOSH Charity supports this funding. It is proudly the largest funder of paediatric medical research in the UK.

Other key areas of support provided by GOSH Charity include pastoral care for families and patients, including offering family accommodation close to the hospital and a Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care team for families of all faiths and none.

The Play Team

The GOSH Play team is the largest in Europe. It is fully funded by GOSH Charity and is made up of Play workers and specialists helping children to understand their illness and what they can expect from treatment. For example, an oncology Play specialist might explain a child’s hair loss during cancer treatment using bald barbie dolls, or use sweets to mimic pill taking, as some children may be taking up to 40 pills per day.

I am so pleased to partner with GOSH Charity and to help support its tremendous and globally important role in supporting research into rare diseases in children. You will see on our website the ability to donate at checkout, so please do consider donating a small amount to this great cause if you can.

We will keep you posted as to how our donations are used in the future by the charity. Please visit their website for further information:

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