Fairy Box charity is flying high to turn frowns upside down

ZDCC-10-Fairy Box gifts toys to children in hospital
ZDCC-10-Fairy Box gifts toys to children in hospital

Hundreds of toys have been given to youngsters at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital in the past few months thanks to a relaunched magical charity.

The Fairy Box charity, which was originally set up by a mum and daughter team from Dundee in 2000, gives children something to smile about by giving them a toy bought using the public’s donations.

Now, the ARCHIE Foundation has taken over the running of the project and hopes to spread its wings right across Scotland.

Since ARCHIE took over late last year, Fairy Box has been relaunched and now has a new manager, 28-year-old Hannah Clark.

The mum-of-two from Dundee said: “Fairy Box is all about making a stay in hospital that little bit better for children.

“For whatever reason children are in hospital, going to the Fairy Box which is packed with toys and picking out a gift can make the experience better.

“It becomes something they look forward to.

“For some children, they don’t remember being in hospital but they remember the Fairy Box.

“We’ve made two visits to Aberdeen’s children’s hospital and it’s been really well received.

“We given about 200 toys and we keep the boxes stocked up.

“My two children – Daisy (6) and Ollie (3) – love helping me to pick toys for the Fairy Boxes, from Paw Patrol and My Little Pony to colouring pads, games and books.

“They are the best people to ask about toys – they know the best ones.”

And the toy shopping won’t be stopping any time soon at the Clark household as Fairy Box has plans to extend into major hospitals across the country.

As well as the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, there are already Fairy Boxes at the Highland Children’s Unit in Inverness.

And there are also plans to extend the service to Tayside Children’s Hospital at Ninewells in Dundee, Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow Children’s Hospital and Borders General Hospital.

The charity was created in 2000 by Rosie Butler and her daughter Aimee who was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of five.

Over the next 10 years, the mother and daughter team from Dundee took Fairy Boxes to hospitals all over the country.

Earlier this year the trustees decided to retire and the charity passed to the ARCHIE Foundation, a family of separate charitable funds aiming to improve children’s healthcare.

Fairy Box has now relaunched with a new look but is keeping the same aims and ideals.

A Fairy Box is a bright pink ottoman-size tub filled to the brim with goodies.

The box is then put on wheels and wheeled round the wards. Children can dip into the box as often as they need and the toys are theirs to keep.

Hannah said: “We want to give as many children in hospital as possible the chance to choose a gift from the Fairy Box. We rely on donations to buy new books, toys, DVDs and games to make sure each box is fully stocked and we’re looking for supporters, volunteers and fundraisers all over the country to help us reach as many children as we can.

“We need people to organise local fundraisers and local businesses to take collection tins.

“But there are lots of ways people can support Fairy Box. You can donate money – £10 buys a toy; or you can volunteer at events, or to process donations and keep boxes restocked.

“You could set up a Fairy Box group in your area to support our work or host a fundraising event.

“However, you choose to support Fairy Box, you will bring a touch of magic to children in hospital.”

David Cunningham, ARCHIE chief executive said: “We are delighted by the welcome Fairy Box is receiving. It is a wonderfully-simple idea which brings a bit of magic and sparkle into young children’s lives for being brave.

“We’d would love to see a Fairy Box in every children’s ward in Scotland initially, then in time spread the magic to wherever children receive healthcare treatment and a visit from the fairies can help them through tougher times.

“We can’t do this without the public’s help and we are incredibly grateful for their generous support.”

Anyone interested in supporting the charity can email hello@thefairybox.org or see the Facebook page @FairyBoxCharity.