Youngsters at a South London hospital are enjoying a revamped Children’s Garden thanks to long-term supporter and philanthropist Dmitry Leus
A new-look Children’s Garden has been unveiled at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, funded by a donation from long-term supporter, philanthropist and creator of the Leus Family Foundation, Dmitry Leus.
“I’m truly honoured to be a supporter of the regeneration,” said Leus, pictured centre above at the opening with (from left) Louise Bellamy (fundraiser, St. George’s Hospital Charity), Michael Wynne-Parker (Leus Foundation trustee), Amerjit Chohan (St George’s Hospital CEO) and Sue Affleck (head nurse of Children’s Services at St George’s).
A welcome outdoor space
The garden, situated in front of the Lanesborough Wing of the hospital, was first opened in 2012 – and hailed as an important new outdoor space for young patients and their families to enjoy, away from a clinical setting. Updates to the site include the extension and improvement of the play areas, including a new slide and better wheelchair access. “My long relationship with St George’s has given me a great admiration for the children who are patients here, their families and the amazing staff,” says Leus. “This garden will lift spirits and hopefully provide moments of joy and relaxation between treatments.”
A significant difference to their wellbeing
Amerjit Chohan, chief executive at St George’s Hospital Charity, hailed the regeneration. “The long-standing support that Leus has given to St George’s Hospital Charity has made a significant difference to the wellbeing of the children in the care of the hospital,” he says. “We very much value our partnership with The Leus Family Foundation.”
An additional seating area will be installed in the spring, donated by The Playground Company, while volunteer Robin Newman and the team from his local company, Gardens and Leaves, generously gave their time to re-paint the fence and tidy up the garden beds.
“Gardens and outdoor spaces within the healthcare environment have long been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in children through physical and psychological stimulation,” says Sue Affleck, the head nurse of Children’s Services. “The Children’s Services teams are absolutely delighted with the regeneration work.”
A long-standing supporter
Leus is a long- standing supporter of St George’s. His work with the hospital charity began in 2017 when he met a 14- year- old girl called Megan who was being treated at the hospital for blood cancer. Megan requested that Leus focus his philanthropy towards the hospital. He eventually funded the manufacturing of “Buzzy’s”, a child- friendly pain distraction device, which makes blood tests and injection procedures less traumatic.
Leus later pledged his support to update the garden, as well as sponsoring a number of additional projects, including a fundraising dinner at House of Parliament for St George’s Hospital Charity and responding to St George’s Hospital’s COVID appeal. Leus is a recognised Children’s Appeal Supporter to St George’s Hospital.
Dmitry Leus is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), a Patron of the Prince of Wales Foundation, Ambassador to the HealthProm charity, Honorary President and Patron of Brixton Fencing Club and due to ongoing links within the charity sector, Leus Family Foundation was established in 2018. Through the foundation Leus has been able to support charities and institutions that innovate in the fields of child development.
For more information on St George’s Hospital Charity click here
The impact of St George’s Hospital Charity wouldn’t be possible without the support of the donors and fundraisers who assist us in our work.
Imperium Investments and its CEO and Founder Dmitry Leus have an important relationship with St George’s Hospital Charity and with their continued generosity we can help thousands of children every year across our Trust.
Dmitry’s initial gift to St George’s was funding the purchase of a ‘Buzzy’ for every child’s bed at the hospital. These Buzzys are child-friendly pain distraction devices which make blood tests and injection procedures much quicker and less traumatic for our youngest patients.
Now Imperium Investments have pledged their support to the regeneration of the Children’s Garden at St George’s Hospital, which needs some love and attention to make it safe for children to access. Gardens and outside spaces are important for the recovery of all patients, especially children, and our hope is to make the newly-designed garden a fun, engaging and accessible space for children and their loved ones.
We are incredibly grateful for Dmitry’s continued support of St George’s Hospital Charity and our Children’s Appeal. Imperium Investments are dedicated to supporting causes that focus on the child’s physical and emotional wellbeing during times of ill health, providing enjoyment and distraction to boost recovery whilst supporting children and their families.
Last Thursday 29 November, at a star-studded event at the House of Commons, St George’s Hospital Charity and Imperium Investments launched a new partnership in support of the Children’s Appeal.
Dmitry Leus, CEO of Imperium Investments, was inspired to support St George’s Hospital Charity after meeting the teenage daughter of a friend who was undergoing cancer treatment in our children’s wards.
Dmitry wanted to improve the hospital experience of our youngest patients, and working with St George’s Hospital Charity identified that he could fund “Buzzys” for every bed in the paediatric inpatients department. Buzzys are pain distraction devices that make blood tests and injections much less scary and painful for young and nervous children.
These fantastic devices arrived a couple of months ago and have made a massive difference to the children and staff on our wards. Keith Fishpool, Paediatric Assistant Practitioner, said:
“We use the Buzzys in the children’s wards for blood tests and all types of injections. They’re an amazing tool for distraction – rather than getting nervous about the procedure we’re going to do, the kids really focus on the vibrations. The part of the brain that would have generally concentrated on the pain concentrates on the buzzing sensation instead, which really reduces anxiety and discomfort. It also means you spend less time placating children and you get through the process of doing a blood test quicker, because the Buzzy just totally distracts them and you can get on with it. I find them really useful, particularly for nervous children, it’s been great to have them on the wards and has made a real difference to our youngest patients.”
St George’s Children’s departments care for nearly 40,000 children every year from Wandsworth, Merton, south west London, Surrey and beyond. Its youngest and smallest patients are looked after by an incredible team of staff with specialist medical and surgical care provided across five children’s wards, a paediatric intensive care unit (PICU), a specialist fetal medicine unit, and a joint treatment centre for oncology with the Royal Marsden Hospital. St George’s is one of only three centres in the UK designated to look after children with HIV, emergency admissions, and outpatient services.
St George’s Hospital Charity’s Children’s Appeal aims to raise £500,000 by 2020 to support the work of our children’s, maternity and fetal medicine teams. This includes funding major redevelopments, clinical research and state-of-the-art medical equipment as well as helping patients and their families at times of extreme financial difficulty.
The work of St George’s Hospital Charity wouldn’t be possible without the support of the donors, grants, foundations and individual fundraisers who all assist us in our work. Dmitry and Imperium Investments are a brilliant example of this support. In speaking about the partnership, Dmitry said:
“I am a proud father of four wonderful children myself, so it also gives me an immense amount of pride in being able to help a charity like St George’s Hospital Charity committed to providing relief and support for children going through difficult times.”