© 2013 Lions Clubs New Zealand
Since winning the title of New Zealand’s hardest working nurse 18 months ago, Stephanie Beddis has worked closely with Creative Director Ann Wyatt from Red Pebble, illustrator Rachel Driscoll and the Silverstream Lions to turn a dream into reality.
Stephanie’s vision was to create a unique distraction therapy environment for young children within Hutt Hospital’s paediatric Emergency Department to be known as “The Tree Hutt”. The aim is to minimise the trauma of the hospital experience for children and their families.
According to Stephanie, research has shown that having “a child friendly environment with murals, themes and toys is the key to distraction as it increases children’s ability to cope with pain, stress and anxiety by stimulating them to concentrate on something else.”
In the waiting area, children can push buttons to control a train that runs through the tree tops. Native birds sing as the train travels along the track through a specially built tunnel and over a truss bridge, which has been built by the Wellington Garden Rail Group.
“Building the train layout and features has involved a number of members and many hours of voluntary work. We are delighted to be part of this project and the group will continue to maintain the train and track on an ongoing basis,” said Wellington Garden Rail member Chris Drowley.
While the initial sum of $10,000 came from Gareth Morgan as Stephanie’s prize, the Silverstream Lions Club has assisted greatly towards the initial total cost of nearly $20,000 and ensured that the project will be completed on time.
Ongoing costs to cover maintenance, reading books, “The Tree Hutt” website and consumables will require regular sponsorship and the team is organising a sponsorship package which they hope will appeal to a wide range of businesses.
A significant amount of voluntary time has been donated to create this unique environment for children at Hutt Hospital, including the painting of the mural by Ann and Rachel.
The Tree Hutt” was officially opened on 3 September 2011 in time to cater for the expected additional demands from people attending the World Cup.